Guest Instructor - Shawn Langdon
To the casual NHRA fan, Shawn Langdon is the likeable, personable Top Fuel teammate of Morgan Lucas, and a successful professional competitor behind the wheel of his Lucas Oil/Speedco backed Top Fuel Dragster. At just 27 years of age, Langdon is living his dream, and the dream of countless other hot rod enthusiasts: as he makes his living in the seat of the quickest and fastest machines known to man, the Top Fuel Dragster.
Sportsman racing fans, however, realize that at a young age, Langdon has gathered immense experience in various forms and levels of sportsman racing. We also know that he has excelled and enjoyed great success at virtually every level along the way.
Shawn, like the majority of ThisIsBracketRacing.com’s instructors, is a second generation drag racer. His father Chad Langdon has been a staple in the Division 7 sportsman ranks for decades. Shawn got his start in the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League, where his skills and winning attitude were first showcased. Shawn drove to numerous titles in the Junior Dragster Ranks, highlighted by an NHRA World Championship in 1997.
From there, Shawn graduated into the “Super Classes,” seemingly always with the backing of Lucas Oil (Shawn befriended Morgan Lucas at an early age, and affectionately refers to Lucas Oil founders Forrest and Charlotte Lucas as his second parents) and made a name for himself on the West Coast with success in both categories in his teens and early twenties.
When the opportunity presented itself in 2004 to run a full schedule of NHRA events with friend and employer Jack Brand, Langdon jumped at the opportunity and once again cashed in with near-immediate success. Flying the Lucas Oil and CSS Drywall (Brand’s company) banners, Langdon earned the 2005 JEGS All-Stars title in Super Comp. He backed up that title in 2006, and began accumulating national event victories. He has five currently; 4 in Super Comp, 1 in Super Gas.
2007 was a huge season for Langdon. In his curtain call with Brand (who stepped away from racing at the end of the ’07 season), Langdon reached the pinnacle of sportsman racing as he claimed the 2007 NHRA Super Comp World Championship. Along the way, he also picked up the Division 7 Hardware, as the Pacific Division Super Comp Champion. Oh by the way, that same season Shawn took the controls of the Lucas Family A/Fuel Dragster for the first time and scored a top qualifying position in Top Alcohol Dragster at that season’s Keystone Nationals.
In 2008, Langdon uprooted from his native California to Indianapolis (to be closer to Morgan Lucas Racing), formed his own Super Comp team and once again hit the road with the unimaginable task of defending his 2007 title. Most of you already know the outcome, as Langdon, just 25 at the time, became only the second driver in NHRA history to win back-to-back Super Comp World Championships (Scotty Richardson is the only other to share that honor). He added the Division 3 Super Comp title to his resume that season, and continued a part-time schedule in the Lucas Oil A/Fuel Dragster, scoring another top qualifying effort at the Las Vegas Nationals.
In 2009, Langdon got the call he had been dreaming of his entire adult life, as the opportunity to drive a second Morgan Lucas Racing Top Fuel Dragster presented itself. The two-time defending NHRA Super Comp World Champion vacated the sportsman chase and made the move into the professional ranks. He had an impressive rookie season in Top Fuel, earning a runner-up finish and a handful of semi-final appearances en route to a 9th place national finish in drag racing’s most elite category. He finished his opening season 2nd among drivers in reaction time, a statistic he takes much pride in and a testament to his sportsman roots.
While his main focus is obviously on the fuel ranks, Langdon is never far from his sportsman roots. In limited appearances, he enjoyed success on the sportsman level in 2009 as well. He appeared in a pair of $10,000-to-win final rounds at the March ’09 Tenn-Tuck Triple Crown event, and was a finalist at the New World Super Pro Challenge held in Valdosta, GA last November. In fact, much of Langdon’s bracket success is lost on the fact that he has developed such a stellar resume on the NHRA scene. While Langdon’s focus has always aimed at the NHRA tour (in either the “Super” categories, Top Alcohol Dragster, or Top Fuel), he’s picked up a number of huge bracket victories over the course of the last decade.
Shawn Langdon has competed in virtually every category imaginable: Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Stock, Stock, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Fuel Dragster; in addition to his junior dragster and bracket racing career. He has proven adept at all forms of competition, and is a multi-time NHRA World Champion. We’re extremely excited and fortunate to have Shawn as a featured guest instructor here on ThisIsBracketRacing.com, and, like each of you, we can’t wait to read what he’s got to offer each of us in our quest to become a better sportsman racer.