Don Schumacher Racing parks Shawn Langdon's NHRA dragster
Team owner Don Schumacher confirmed Tuesday that he has parked one of his four Top Fuel teams until he can secure proper sponsorship to race the entire 24-event NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Schumacher will not field the dragster driven by past Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon.
Langdon, who joined the team in late 2015 when Alan Johnson Racing ceased operations, was disappointed but understood Schumacher's decision.
"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."
Schumacher, in a statement to CompetitionPlus.com, said he's not giving up hope the car will race this season.
"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 said.
Sources close to the situation have confirmed many of the crew members on the team have already been reassigned within Don Schumacher Racing.
Langdon said he's already hit the pavement in search of marketing partners to come aboard with a team capable of winning. Last season Langdon and his team captured three wins and finished fifth in the final championship standings.
"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."
At this point, it is uncertain whether the team could or would return on a part-time basis during the season.
"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."
Langdon, who has a Lucas Oil Sportsman Series championship to his credit, said he's likely going to pass on racing his two Sportsman race cars in the meantime, choosing instead to focus the lion's share of efforts on securing professional funding.
"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."
Editor's note: Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus