Langdon, a Southern California native, earned the title in front of a large contingent of family and friends at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona by qualifying second in the 16-car Top Fuel field. His closest challenger, defending series champ Antron Brown, qualified fifth overall, giving Langdon an insurmountable 104 point lead with only a maximum of 100 points available on Sunday.
“You want to clinch the title as soon as you can,” Langdon said. “There’s a lot of pressure. I’ve been in some pressure situations before in racing, but nothing like this. It’s just the overall pressure of the Countdown.
“It’s been a great journey, but this is all a learning experience for me.”
Langdon’s second-best qualifying effort of 3.750 at 327.03 puts him in position to add to his category-best six season victories when he faces Steve Torrence in the opening round of eliminations.
The former NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League champion and two-time Super Comp champ in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series now joins an elite group of drivers who are NHRA Mello Yello Series Top Fuel world champions.
“When I think of an NHRA Top Fuel champion I think of Joe Amato, Kenny Bernstein, and Tony Schumacher,” Langdon said. “To be mentioned in that group now is just unbelievable.
“When I think of myself I am still that young kid on the opposite side of the fence dreaming of one day getting the chance to do it. I hope to have the opportunity to do this again.
(Photos courtesy NHRA/National Dragster)
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