The ZMax Four-Wide Nationals is unlike any other event in the NHRA Tour, with cars lining up across four lanes, all battling simultaneously to cut the perfect light. Coming out runner-up in this weekend's madness was Red Line-equipped Top Fuel racer Shawn Langdon in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster.
Langdon started off the weekend right with the No.1 qualifying spot and ran the quickest pass of the weekend with a 3.753. Langdon advanced to his first final round of the season; it was his second-consecutive final round at this event.
In the semifinals, the steering wheel in the silver Al-Anabi car came off its shaft 800 feet into the run with the car moving at some 300 mph. Langdon steered the car by grasping its steering shaft. He alternated between steering the car by the steering shaft, grabbing the brake and deploying the parachutes. When the car came to a stop, it grazed the right retaining wall. Still, Langdon recorded the quickest pass of the round and had lane choice in the final round. The Al-Anabi crew replaced the broken bolt that held the steering-wheel assembly’s quick-release system together and repaired the car easily in time for the final round.
“It was pretty scary when the steering wheel came off. Everything happened so fast. The first instinct as a driver is, no matter what, to get that car to the finish line and still win the round," said Langdon. "It probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but when the steering wheel came off, all I could think of was to grab the steering shaft and try to hold it as straight as I could. Fortunately, we were still able to get the round win. It grazed the wall in the shutdown area, but it didn’t really do too much damage to the car."
In the final, Langdon and Antron Brown posted identical 3.800-second passes, but Brown’s starting-line advantage got him to the finish line first. Langdon finished second in the four-car final round; the margin of victory was .015 seconds.
Also joining Langdon in the Four-Wide final was Red Line-equipped Top Fuel driver and current points leader Doug Kalitta. By once again making the final round, Kalitta holds onto the series points lead by 15 heading into Houston.
The next NHRA race takes place on April 25-27, 2014 at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals near Houston. For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com.