Every Funny Car win is tough to earn but Shawn Langdon, the driver of the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car, faced one of the toughest finals in modern history. Standing between the second year Funny Car driver and his first Funny Car win were 20 combined Funny Car world championships and 227 Funny Car wins from his three competitors John Force, Robert Hight and Matt Hagan in the final quad at the Carolina Four-Wide Nationals.
“The guys this Global Electronic Technology team had to go through today in the second round and the finals were the best in the class,” said Langdon. “To get this win is very gratifying. I went .069 in the final and left fourth. It just shows how good these guys are and how hungry they are to win. There’s so many things going on in my life, that I just sat in the car and closed my eyes and said just give me this one time right here, I need to use it. I don’t say that too often, but this time it worked.”
For Langdon, the No. 5 qualifier, the win was the conclusion of an emotional start to the season as he supported his dad through serious health issues that culminated with a recent liver transplant. Langdon spent a few days before this race with his father. Emotions rose to the surface as soon as Langdon exited his Toyota Camry Funny Car today.
“A lot of times, you just come out here and race and you build up this wall of emotion,” said Langdon. “You become a little bit emotion-less because you know you’re going to lose more than you win and you learn how to deal with it. Then you get struck with things you really haven’t dealt with before family-wise. A lot of people have been through it, and those are the people that really helped us get through the tough times. So many encouraging messages from fans that have been through similar situations that offered us words of encouragement and advice and different things. I just tried to be there for my dad as much as I could and I told him ‘I’m going to get you one (a win).’ I was hoping that it was going to be last race, but beggars can’t be choosers. Second race in, I’ll take it. Fortunately, he’s healthy. He beat cancer and had a liver transplant. He’s doing well. I’m going to see him this week between races and I’m going to get him that trophy. It’s family and it’s important.”
Langdon picked up his first win at the same track where he won for the first time in Top Fuel in 2012. He joins his crew chief Del Worsham as the only driver to win at zMAX Dragway in both Funny Car and Top Fuel. Langdon becomes just the 17th driver to win in Top Fuel and Funny Car in the history of the NHRA. He joins this list right behind teammate J.R. Todd.
“It is pretty cool for Shawn,” said Todd, from his teammate’s winner’s circle. “I didn’t even think about the fact that I was the 16th driver to win in Funny Car and Top Fuel and now he is the 17th. A year or so ago I really thought he would be the next driver to do that. They have had their ups and downs. It seemed like they couldn’t catch a break. I am proud they finally broke through. It is going to happen a lot more now. I am glad that he was the one to be No. 17. It is awesome to be able to share that accomplishment with him.”
For Langdon the win was special and humbling because he joined an elite group of drivers.
“It’s humbling when my name gets put next to those guys. I grew up idolizing so many of those guys. I grew up running around and trying to get their autographs and going back home and playing with hot wheels and those were the drivers I played with. Just to have my name next to them is one of those things that I just really don’t know how to take it. To have the support of Toyota and Global Electronic Technology means a lot too.“
The win for Langdon came from lane four and it was the first time on race day that he hit the finish line stripe first. His winning elapsed time of 4.125 seconds at 305.08 mph was .034 seconds quicker and 30 mph faster than the runner-up. Ironically, Langdon was the fourth driver to leave the starting lane even though he has a strong .069 second reaction time.
Leading up to the final quad Langdon had to take on his teammate J.R. Todd in the second quad as well as Hight and Tommy Johnson Jr. Langdon was the first off the starting line with a .059 second reaction time and got to the stripe right behind Hight to advance to the final quad. It was a tough round for Langdon as he had problems early on the run and had to pedal his Global Electronic Technology Camry Funny Car to cruise across the finish line.
Langdon on racing the final quad: “I had no idea where I was during the race. In staging, I really didn’t know what (John) Force was going to do. A lot of time he will do a little crapshoot and roll it in deep. So I looked over at him and said man, he’s in deep. So I’m looking at the tree and I was mad when I left because I didn’t feel like I got it good. Then going down the track, you have so many emotions in your head and I’m thinking this thing really isn’t running well and it was kind of just petering down there and I’m actually glancing off to my left and I’m thinking, damn, I don’t see anybody. So obviously, I leg it. Then I go through the finish line and I see a blinking light and I’m thinking, ok, I haven’t seen that yet today and I know that I’ve second twice today and it’s been a solid light. So I’m thinking we might have won. Then I came around the corner and they pointed me to the good side, so at that point I knew. I had about 10 seconds to think cool, I just won. It’s just an awesome feeling. This is cool.