POMONA, Calif. – Shawn Langdon raced to the quickest Top Fuel time in NHRA history to take the top qualifying position in a rain-shortened day of racing Saturday at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals. The final round of qualifying was cancelled due to rain.
Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) also will lead their respective categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Langdon set the track record for time with a performance of 3.700-seconds at 328.30 mph in the Knuckle Sandwich/AJPE dragster. Langdon’s time is in position to be certified as a national record if he can post another time within one percent of his third session run — a time of 3.737 or quicker. This is the 17th time in his career that he has secured the No. 1 qualifier and he will open eliminations against Steve Chrisman.
“It was just a picture perfect run,” Langdon said. “It left, had the front end up, it was accelerating hard and it just pulled all the way until I shut it off. I went through the finish line and I thought I got a glimpse of the 3.70 on the scoreboard but wasn’t really sure. On a 100 degree day on the track, I really wasn’t even thinking about a 3.70. It wasn’t really until I turned the corner and saw everyone hooting and hollering that I was like ‘Ah, I guess I did see that.’”
Richie Crampton raced his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster into the second qualifying spot with a performance of 3.730 at 328.46. Doug Kalitta, who led qualifying through the first two rounds with a 3.733 at 327.59 in his Mac Tools dragster, will enter race day in as the third qualifier.
Force set a career-best time in the third session, posting a 3.995 effort at 322.65. It was Force’s first official run quicker than four seconds and the eighth time she has raced to the No. 1 qualifying position. Force, the No. 1 qualifier at the season-opening event in 2013, faces Gary Densham in the first round.
“It was flying down there,” Force said of her Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car. “That sand trap was coming up quick. It was just a great run for us, especially because we’re trying to come out here on a high note because we’ve got new sponsors on board. It was awesome flying down there. I knew it was a fast run. Honestly, I didn’t know how fast. I could only tell by the expression on my team’s face and that’s how I knew it was a good one.”
Tommy Johnson Jr., who led Funny Car qualifying after Friday’s sessions, will enter race day as the No. 2 qualifier with his run of 4.018 at 314.36 in the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T. John Force drove the PEAK Camaro SS into the third starting spot with a 4.021 at 320.28.
Jack Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champion, failed to qualify in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T.
Enders-Stevens, the 2014 Pro Stock world champion, was able to reconcile a disappointing first day of qualifying by taking the lead in the third session on Saturday. Her 6.516 sprint at 213.10 at the controls of her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro moved her to the top of the leaderboard for Sunday’s eliminations. On Friday, Enders-Stevens did not complete a full pass in either of her first two qualifying attempts as she struggled to keep traction.
“This hasn’t been the best start for us, even though we [finished as the low qualifier],” said Enders-Stevens, who will face Matt Hartford in round one of eliminations. “I was very surprised nobody went around us earlier today… I wish that we would have gotten this last run in. We wanted to try some things, but [that will have to wait until] tomorrow… Going into Sunday with only one [full] run under your belt, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but I know if anybody can do it, we can do it. I have the best guys in the world and I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings.”
Three-time Circle K NHRA Winternationals winner Jason Line raced his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro to a second place starting spot with a 6.523 at 212.93. Houston’s Rodger Brogdon will start third in his RoofTec Chevy Camaro with a qualifying best of 6.524 at 212.33.
Top Fuel — 1. Shawn Langdon, 3.700 seconds, 328.30 mph vs. 16. Steven Chrisman, 4.136, 273.16; 2.
Richie Crampton, 3.730, 328.46 vs. 15. J.R. Todd, 3.914, 258.02; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.733, 327.59 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 3.897, 297.02; 4. Spencer Massey, 3.745, 332.18 vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.833, 270.16; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.751, 327.27 vs. 12. Troy Buff, 3.815, 310.77; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.757, 323.35 vs. 11. Antron Brown, 3.803, 313.73; 7. Larry Dixon, 3.776, 321.35 vs. 10. Dave Connolly, 3.803, 323.81; 8. Brittany Force, 3.779, 323.97 vs. 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.789, 323.04.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Steve Faria, 4.191, 218.65.
Funny Car — 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.995, 322.65 vs. 16. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 6.957, 306.12; 2. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.018, 314.46 vs. 15. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.372, 263.56; 3. John Force, Camaro, 4.021, 320.28 vs. 14. Bob Bode, Toyota Camry, 4.300, 239.87; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.027, 308.00 vs. 13. John Hale, Charger, 4.193, 295.34; 5. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.030, 304.39 vs. 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.090, 310.70; 6. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.037, 317.94 vs. 11. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.085, 305.84; 7. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 4.045, 319.60 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.066, 311.77; 8. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.045, 314.09 vs. 9. Chad Head, Camry, 4.060, 312.50.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 12.025, 293.03; 18. Jack Beckman, broke.
Pro Stock — 1. Erica Enders-Stevens, Chevy Camaro, 6.516, 213.10 vs. 16. Matt Hartford, Pontiac GXP, 6.611, 208.59; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.523, 212.93 vs. 15. Joey Grose, Camaro, 6.603, 209.20; 3. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.524, 212.33 vs. 14. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.595, 210.37; 4. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.527, 212.09 vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.571, 211.03; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.531, 212.23 vs. 12. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.545, 211.89; 6. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.535, 212.90 vs. 11. Jimmy Alund, GXP, 6.543, 211.56; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.535, 212.19 vs. 10. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.543, 211.93; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.538, 212.03 vs. 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.540, 212.43.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Isbell, broke.