NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Shawn Langdon looks to keep rolling at Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals Top Fuel champ Shawn Langdon broke a four-year winless streak with his victory at the season opener, and the points leader will look to extend that edge at this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.
22 Mar 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Shawn Langdon

In picking up his first win in nearly four years to open the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, Shawn Langdon also picked up a handful of significant milestones along the way.

Along with the first Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals win for the former Top Fuel world champ, Langdon also helped Kalitta Motorsports pick up its first-ever double-up in the nitro categories, handing Brian Husen a victory in his first race since being named crew chief before the season. It also gave Langdon his first victory at a season-opening race since 2015, summing up the fact that things couldn’t have gone much better for the veteran.

That 2015 season-opening victory came in Pomona, where Langdon will be this weekend for the 64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip. It’s still a very special race for the Mira Loma, Calif., native, especially because he’ll have the chance to continue his strong start at the second race of the 2024 season in his 11,000-horsepower Kalitta Air Careers Toyota dragster.

“A lot of this sport is results-driven, so when you go in a drought, you [see] the things online,” Langdon said. “But you take it with a grain of salt, keep your head down, and keep working. But you’re with a great organization, and we get the best of everything. Connie [Kalitta, team owner] is a great leader and sets a great example, so we really feel like we race as a family. It’s a great atmosphere over here. We’re going to get everything ready for Pomona, and we consider it one of the majors. We’re going to keep working and try to progress as a team.”

Last year, Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) took home top honors in their respective categories at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals. To repeat their titles, they’ll need to get past some of the biggest names in the sport at a race that will again be broadcasted on FS1, including eliminations coverage on Sunday, March 24 at 7 p.m. ET.

It's the second of 20 races during the 2024 NHRA season, and Langdon couldn’t be happier with the start in Gainesville, which also included his first No. 1 qualifier since 2020. Things won’t get easier in a loaded Top Fuel lineup that includes teammate and defending world champion Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force, Ashley, Tony Schumacher, and Top Fuel newcomer and racing legend Tony Stewart.

But with Husen calling the shots, things have clicked early and often for the team. Langdon also has the chance to come up big in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday. The specialty race offers a bonus purse and bonus championship points, bringing competitive racing to Saturday qualifying, and Langdon opens the Challenge against Antron Brown. The other pairing includes Steve and Billy Torrence, with the winners meeting up to close out qualifying.

“There’s just people that you click with, and dating back to 2012, I always felt Brian and I clicked from day one,” Langdon said. “I say something, and he gets it, and he says something, and I understand it. We’ve just gotten along really well. I’ve always had great respect for him, and I’m going to sing the praises for him. This new car is showing a lot of potential, and I’m just so happy for Brian. He puts in so much time and effort behind the scenes, and he deserves every ounce of credit he gets. I’m so thankful to be his driver.”
Fans can also witness 45-plus nitro cars in action this weekend in Pomona. Along with the 21-car field in Funny Car and a 17-car Top Fuel entry list, the Legends Nitro Funny Cars will be in action this weekend, pushing the number of nitro cars to nearly 50 at the second stop of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying features one round at 4:30 p.m. PT on Friday, March 22 and the final two rounds on Saturday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The finals of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge take place at the end of final qualifying in each category. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, March 24. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 7 p.m. ET.
To purchase tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at In-N-Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general-admission areas with the purchase of an adult ticket.