LANGDON HAS COMMON GROUND WITH WORSHAM
When you're learning a new trade, it's always best to have a veteran from whom to glean knowledge. For past NHRA Top Fuel series champion turned Funny Car driver Shawn Langdon, the addition of Del Worsham to the Global Electronic Technology team has been just what the doctor ordered.
Langdon, who last Sunday reached his second final round this season, already has 12 round wins in the bank thus far this year. The sophomore driver believes he still has a lot to learn when it comes to driving a Funny Car, but having Del Worsham on his team goes a long way towards straightening out the learning curve.
"I've definitely learned a lot from Del," Langdon said. "Del is very sharp. I think he's helped me in a lot of areas that I've struggled with over the years."
Langdon won a championship behind the wheel of a fuel dragster, but when it comes to the Funny Car, it's a whole new ballgame.
"A Funny Car is so different from a dragster, and I drove a dragster for so long that coming over here I kind of hopped in it with not a clue of what to do other than just hit the gas and try to hold it straight," Langdon admitted. "Del has definitely elevated my game as far as fine-tuning some areas that I needed fine-tuning on. It's really neat working with him. We go back and forth about a lot of things."
Worsham joined the team on a trial basis at the end of the 2018 season as an advisor and consultant. He became an official co-crew chief with Nicky Boninfante this season.
"Having a crew chief that understands a driving position, it's not easy, but I think the times when you make mistakes, they're not so quick to point the finger at you and tell you you're a dumb driver," Langdon said. "They're the first ones there to say, 'All right, we've got a problem, we need to fix it, this is how we can fix it."
Langdon said it's Worsham's experience in driving which helps him to serve as an excellent communicator.
"He'll say to me, 'This is what I've noticed in the past, this is how I did things, this is how you do things so let's find common ground and work from there."
Having a car capable of winning was never a problem for Langdon, but under Worsham's tutelage, he's already scored more round wins at this point in the season over last year.
"I think there's just a lot of things that I guess are getting nit-picky on driving styles, some areas that I lacked in as far as certain awarenesses or certain feels of if you feel this in a car or if the car does this, this is kind of what it's telling you. With a little bit different track prep, it's a lot more critical to be in the groove, by understanding the tracks that you go to, understanding the way the grooves go to, by understanding if there's different crowns in the track what way certain lanes will pull you.
"There's a lot of things that we go over predetermined before the weekend. We have a great group with TRD that goes out, Chad Head, they go out before we run and they go over the track, so we know every nook, cranny, bump, hump, we know where it's at. It's all information. Sometimes it can be a little information overload, but it's all stuff that's good information to have, good information to know and definitely helps you as a driver."
This information overload is where Worsham's vast inventory of knowledge comes in handy.
For Langdon, an accomplished dragster driver, going back to school wasn't exactly easy on the ego.
"I don't care what driver is out there, every driver has some sort of standard, some type of ego," Langdon said. "Some more than others but I think it's understanding the big picture. The big picture that nobody out here is perfect. No driver is perfect. Every driver can improve. I think there's a lot of times that you sit there and get told you're doing things wrong and you did this bad, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. They're not saying that to hurt your feelings. They're saying that to make you aware of situations to make you better and for you to understand how to become a better driver.
"It's a constant learning curve every time I go down the track. I come back to the lounge, and I talk with Nicky and Del. Del will tell me what he saw. Nicky will tell me what he saw. I'll tell them what I feel and I think there's a good chemistry with the trio up there that we're able to talk openly and sometimes I may come back and say some things but they take it not that I'm saying anything negative, it's that 'hey, this is what I think."
"Sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong. All-in-all we're all working towards the same common goal, and that's to come out here and compete for a championship."
And for Langdon, winning a championship is the highest goal.