By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Don Schumacher Racing has decided to park Shawn Langdon’s Top Fuel dragster, according to CompetitionPlus.com. At the moment, it will not be used due to a lack of sponsorship for the upcoming 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Langdon has been through this before as his team lost the Al-Anabi Racing sponsorship before the start of the season 2015 season. That team eventually folded and there is no plans to bring back Alan Johnson Racing at this time.
“It’s the hardest thing about our sport, there’s no question about it,” Langdon said. “Going from something that I experienced back with Alan when we lost our funding over there, and then coming over here to Don’s team, and then going through it again. You know the first time I learned about it in January, this time I learned about it in December. But I can tell you; it really doesn’t matter when you learn about it. There’s really no good time to get that news.”
Brandon Bernstein, Alan Johnson Racing President, previously told The Capital Sports Report that they were working on funding. However, nothing was in place for 2017 and with AJ being a consultant for Steve Torrence Racing and Brittany Force’s Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster for John Force Racing.
In 2016, Langdon was sponsored by Sandvik — which is a New Jersey based company — and Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher. He is also the owner of Schumacher Electric Corporation, which the Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher brand is under.
Langdon will still be apart of Don Schumacher Racing. However, eight-time Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher, three-time Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown — who is the back-to-back Top Fuel Champion — and Leah Pritchett will be the Top Fuel drivers to begin the season.
Don Schumacher told CompetitionPlus.com that he’s hopeful that the car will return in 2017.
“I am working on some things that will hopefully work out and give me the funding to run the car as soon as possible,” Schumacher conveyed.
Langdon is even joining Schumacher to double their efforts to find a marketing partner.
“At this point, there’s really no other option than just to get back at it and just start talking with companies that we feel would be a good fit over here at Don Schumacher Racing,” Langdon explained. “We have all the tools; we have all the parts, the pieces, and two brand new race cars that just got off the jig.”
There is no plans to even run the dragster part-time. Last season, after Pritchett was picked up by DSR after Bob Vandergriff Racing ceased operations, she used several different sponsors, including Papa John’s, to continue to race.
“We haven’t really got into any discussions like that,” Langdon said. “I don’t really think that either of us are interested in doing just a part-time deal and having a car that will come out for four or five races. I think the right way to do it is to find an adequate sponsor to come out and to do it the right way, to hire the right people to work on the race car and to go out full time. Depending on at what point we’re able to secure the sponsorship this year, it’s going to be very difficult to get it done by Pomona.”
The National Hot Rod Association starts their season on Feb. 9-12 at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
While Langdon is without a ride presently, he could return to the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where he is a two-time champion, to continue to race. But he would like to find sponsors to bring the Top Fuel dragster back to the circuit.
“I have two great race cars ready to go right now, and it’s kind of a little catch 22 for me,” Langdon admitted. “Because as much as I really want to be out there and I want to race, no matter what car it is, I love driving my Sportsman cars. At the end of the day, it is a hobby for me to go out there to run those cars. It’s just very important to me right now to work with Don and with his partners and with all the companies to focus on trying to find the sponsorship for the Top Fuel car.
“Now I may be able to sneak away a couple of weekends here and there to go maybe do some bracket racing, and stuff like that. But at this point, that’s kind of my view on it. Things may change where I may pop in the car here or there depending on how things are going. But I know right now my primary focus is to get funding for this race car to get back out there racing.”
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