Johnson City Press: NHRA Notes: Langdon going after Nitro sweep at Bristol
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NHRA Notes: Langdon going after Nitro sweep at Bristol

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 15, 2019 at 6:49 PM

BRISTOL — Shawn Langdon is looking to become the first driver to win at Bristol Dragway in both the NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car ranks Sunday in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.

Langdon, who qualified No. 2, has two previous Bristol wins in a Top Fuel dragster in 2014 and 2016. He is looking for his second Funny Car win of the season, with the first coming earlier this season at Charlotte.

“Top Fuel and Funny Cars are so different in how they handle and that challenge is a lot of fun,” Langdon said. “When you are sitting behind the motor (of a Funny Car), you get a completely different feel and look. Plus, when one of these things lets go in front of you, you have your hands full. It would be cool to be the first racer to get a Top Fuel and a Funny Car win at a track that has as much history as Bristol.”

While having nowhere near the power of his Nitro cars, Langdon feels his experience in bracket racing helps with being able to get a feel of the different machines.

“I enjoy bracket racing and have been able to adapt pretty quickly to different cars,” Langdon said. “I’ve definitely enjoyed the opportunity to do the Funny Car. Of all the cars I’ve driven over the years, it’s been the most challenging — but I enjoy it.”

NEW TEAM FOR HILL

Veteran drag racer Roy Hill, noted for his famous drag racing school, announced the formation of a new Mountain Motor Pro Stock team with partner Jerry Haas and driver Vincent Nobile. Hill raced in the Mountain Motor Pro Stock division in the 1990s and was the car owner for Mike Bell’s 1995 championship team.

Hill also served as a car owner for NHRA Pro Stock driver Richie Stevens.

With the new effort, Bell will return to drive one car, while Nobile will be in the other. Nobile, from Long Island, New York, is a 13-time NHRA Pro Stock winner with 25 final-round appearances.

NO CHUTES, BIG PROBLEM

New York driver Mark Caruso got a big scare when the chutes failed to deploy on his Camaro during Pro Mod qualifying.

Not able to slam on the brakes, Caruso went through the sand trap at the end of the drag strip. The net catch fence flipped and he crashed into barrels at the end of the track. It took several minutes for repairs before action resumed.

Caruso exited the car under his own power.

OTHER CLASSES

Jay Turner from Julian, N.C., led qualifying for the NHRA Top Fuel Harley division. Another racer from the Tar Heel State, Todd Tutterow from Yadkinville, was the quickest in Pro Mod, edging Brazilian driver Sidnei Frigo. A pair of former NHRA Pro Stock winners at Bristol also attempted to qualify. Alex Laughlin, the 2017 Thunder Valley Nationals winner, qualified seventh, while Erica Enders ended 17th, missing eliminations by one spot.

Missouri racer John DeFlorian Jr. drove his Chevy Camaro to the No. 1 spot for Mountain Motor Pro Stock.

SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY

Gates open Sunday at 10 a.m. The always popular track walk takes place at 10:45 a.m. with pre-race ceremonies at 11 a.m. Eliminations start at noon and action will be broadcast live on FS1 starting at 2 p.m.

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