Published On: Wed, Sep 5th, 2012

Talking Sports with new Al-Anabi Racing’s Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon

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By Anthony Caruso III
The Capital Sports Report
Owner/Managing Editor/Sr. Writer

Shawn Langdon, an NHRA Top Fuel driver, recently took time to do an interview with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his switch from Morgan Lucas Racing to Al-Anabi Racing.

Shawn Langdon

TCSR: How did the deal come about to come to Al-Anabi Racing before the start of this season?

SL: “Well, at the end of last year, I got a phone call from Alan Johnson after there were two seats available here. It was something that him (Alan) and Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani, team owner, had talked about to offer me a job here at Al-Anabi Racing. For me, as a driver, I didn’t have to think too hard about it, because of the history of what Alan has done and what Al-Anabi Racing has done in the short time that they’ve been in this sport. I really felt like it was a great fit for me, as a driver, and for me, at this point, in my career. He’s (Alan) taken people, who were just starting out in this business to winning a championship, and doing other great things in this sport. For me, I would like to be here for a long time and I would love to be here for the rest of my career. I love winning, even though I have never won an NHRA Top Fuel event, but I believe that coming here, I have the equipment and the crew members to make that happen. I want to win a championship here and I believe I can do it here, as Al-Anabi Racing has won the past two Top Fuel championships with Larry Dixon and Del Worsham in the seat.”

TCSR: Did Morgan Lucas give you an hesitation on making the move to Al-Anabi Racing since he was your boss at Morgan Lucas Racing?

SL: “When I talked to Morgan and Forrest (Lucas), they understood my position. They didn’t have to think too much about it. They knew that I wasn’t just coming to a team to just race. They knew I was coming to a team to compete for championships. Al-Anabi Racing wants to leave their mark on tour, as a strong team.”

TCSR: When you left Morgan Lucas Racing, did it affect your friendship with Morgan?

SL: “I don’t think so. I think Forrest Lucas and Morgan Lucas were very understanding, as I mentioned before, and as business partner and a friend. They both understand that its apart of the business and they knew it was a good opportunity for me. Morgan told me that it’s something that I couldn’t pass up.”

TCSR: You are previously working with Larry Dixon’s team after he decided to leave the seat for this season. What is it like to replace a three-time champion?

SL: “It’s definitely a little intimidating, as I am replacing Larry, who is a great driver and a great guy. He’s done a great job for this sport, especially for his own name these past several decades. He has won countless races and as you mentioned, three championships. It is intimidating, because I’m fairly new at this, because it is my third year doing this. I’m doing the best job that I can out here, and hopefully, I can bring something to the table with my driving style and getting good reaction times. I want to give this team to the best advantage as possible.”

TCSR: Could you talk about working with team manager Alan Johnson?

SL: “Alan has been great since I arrived here. I think he really understands, where you are coming from as a driver. He gives you all the tools to succeed and he’s not going to give you something that’s second best. He wants to win more than anybody out here, and he wants Al-Anabi to succeed. He gives you a great race car, and he’s put me with a great team. I have all the confidence in the world in him. We started off slowly, which is something that we didn’t expect, but I don’t look at it as a bad thing, because we’re coming out of all these races by making a lot of progress. We’re heading in the right direction.”

TCSR: With the last success of Al-Anabi Racing, does that put more pressure on you to get your first win in this sport and succeed now and in the future?

SL: “From the outside, yes, especially from the media that comes to all these races. There is pressure, because a lot of media members have asked us why we haven’t won this season, but on the inside, there is no pressure. The team doesn’t put any extra pressure on me, and they understand we are doing the best that we can to possibly win out here.”

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- Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher for The Capital Sports Report. He has covered local and national events, including numerous Heisman Trophy ceremonies, two Little League World Series, and the Army-Navy college football game.