LANGENSTEIN DEMONSTRATES ROAD COURSE PROWESS, WINS 3rd RACE MAKE-UP FEATURE, DOMINATES RACE 4 HEATS, COMPETITORS WHINE!
Concord, NC (01/23/10)
“When all things are equal, one’s natural ability and talent stand out” – Author Unknown
Austin Langenstein’s road course driving ability was on display once again at Charlotte Motor
Speedway, and his competitors were not amused.
Slotted in the 4th position for the make-up qualifying heat from last Sunday’s rainout, Austin quickly maneuvered the #7 FIREFOLD.com Bandolero through the first series of turns, leaving the field behind on his way to securing the pole for the rescheduled 3rd race of the Winter
Heat Series. “The car was perfect”, said an elated Austin. “Other than tire pressure and fuel, we didn’t change a thing from our win last Saturday”, noted the young driving talent.
Picking up where he left off the week before, Austin took the green flag in the feature and immediately demonstrated why he is a young driver to be watched as he skillfully wove his way through the twists and turns of the course, opening a substantial lead on his way to his second road course win in three races.
“I love road course racing”, said Austin with a slight grin. “Right hand turns, left hand turns,
competitors all around; you’ve really got to pay attention or you’re either tangled up with
someone or you’re off the course; either way you’re in trouble”, he concluded.
Austin’s dominance on the road course continued as he took the checkered flag in the first of two scheduled heat races in preparation for the 4th feature of the Winter Heat Series.
Starting on the outside of the 3rd row, the young driver quickly avoided becoming involved in a tangle between the 3rd and 4th place contenders as they came out of the second turn, putting him in 3rd position as they headed toward turn 3. Biding his time and picking his spots, Austin skillfully drove the #7 past the second place car and then into the lead, passing the pole sitter
as they exited the chicane and headed toward the start/finish line. From there to the checkered flag it was typical Austin: smooth through the corners and fullconcentration on the business at hand.
“Once I got by the leader I just concentrated on maintaining a smooth rhythm through the turns and building on my lead, if possible”, stated the young road course wizard. “There were faster
cars out there, and I knew their speed would give them an advantage on the straight-aways, but speed isn’t always an advantage, especially through the turns”, noted Austin.
Convinced it was the car, and not the driver, which gave the #7 FIREFOLD.com the advantage over its competitors, some teams grumbled the KAR Racing Team had to be in violation of the rules. In response to the unfounded acquisitions, INEX 600 Officials approached the team and had them replace the rev limiter with one they provided. The reason given for the switch
was the engine in the #7 “sounded different”; that it wasn’t “revving like the others” and INEX wanted to verify the limiter was working properly.
With the new “limiter” installed, the #7 rolled up to the staging area for the 2nd heat. That’s when Austin learned he would be starting on the outside of row 7 in 14th position, dead last. “I don’t worry about where I start the race”, smiled Austin. “I know if I stay patient, get a rhythm going and stay out of trouble I’ll be in contention at the end”.
“It’s a shame people can’t accept that a young driver can be as talented as Austin”, observed
the Charlie Langenstein. “They convince themselves that it has to be something mechanical
that provides him with an advantage”, he continued with a slight expression of irritation on his
face. “I’ve been around racing since I was a teenager and I’ve seen talented legendary drivers:
from Larry “Boom Boom” Cannon, Will Cagle, Tommy Corellis and Brett Hearn, to Rob
Morosso, Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson”; noted the Northeast DIRTCar Hall of Fame
inductee and 4 time Sprint Car Champion car builder, “and Austin has that kind of talent”.
Tommy Corellis, former Northeast DIRTCar Modified Champion, who was attending the race with a group from Rifenburg Construction, a primary sponsor of the #7, noted he’d “been around racing for most of my life and I know talent when I see it, and Austin is an exceptional young talent”. Tommy added, “Austin is mature beyond his years; he is disciplined, focused and committed to his sport, and I see a young man with a great future in motor sports.”
As the field of 14 rolled across the start/finish line under the green, Austin let the pack charge
ahead into turn one, where immediately several became entangled in a mass of spinning,
sliding sheet metal. With the melee playing out in front of him, Austin was able to drive the #7
Rifenburg/Scotty’s/Thermal Control Products Bandolero through the wrecks and into turn 2,
where he emerged solidly in 4th position. Now, with the lead pack in sight, Austin began to
skillfully negotiate each turn, closing the gap to the next competitor and picking them off one by one.
Taking the white flag as he crossed the start/finish line, the leader dove into turn one with Austin in hot pursuit. As the two leaders wove their way through the course, Austin continued to close in, hoping to force his opponent into a critical error. However, the leader held his position, proving to be a worthy competitor until, as they exited the chicane the leader went a little wide, opening the door for Austin to take the inside going into the final turn and headed toward the start/finish. With the two virtually neck and neck, the leader crossed the finish line mere inches ahead of Austin. “It was a good clean race and the winner certainly earned the victory”, noted Austin.
“I think Austin proved that, short of driving on flat tires, he is a force to reckon with when it
comes to road course racing”, stated the elder Langenstein. “I’m so proud of him”, he
continued. “He doesn’t get rattled, he just gets focused”. “Austin is one of those drivers that
literally have the ability to shorten the course, which allows him to run the leader down, or
extend his lead when he gets to the front”.
Starting on the outside of the front row in the feature, next to the #4 car, Austin stayed wide
through turn 1 and then fell in behind the leader. With a lot of bumping and banging going on
behind him, Austin concentrated on taking the lead and pulled along side the 4 car coming out
of turn 2. Side by side the two headed toward turn 3 when, without warning, the leader “body
slammed” the #7, forcing him off the track. Before Austin could recover, several competitors
sped past putting several cars between Austin and the leader.
It only took a little more than a lap for Austin to again catch up to the leader and put pressure on him as they snaked through the chicane. Obviously feeling the Austin’s presence, the leader
exited the chicane and drifted up the track leaving the inside open as he headed toward the start/finish line. Austin seized the opportunity and made a move to challenge for the lead by sliding the #7 in under the leader, taking away his ability to cut the corner. That’s when things got a little out of hand. With Austin clearly in possession of the inside line, the leader turned to the right, slamming in to the #7 and sending both cars spinning into the infield. “I wouldn’t have made the move to take away the inside if he had position”, noted Austin, shaking his head. “He just drove down on me”.
Spinning to a stop, Austin saw several cars flash past before he was able to get the #7 turned around and back on the course directly behind the #4 which also spun out as a result of the
contact. With the two now running nose to tail they charged into turns 1 and 2 and headed for turn 3. That’s when the #4, for no apparent reason, checked up, causing Austin to bang into his rear bumper, nearly sending him spinning. “There was nobody in front of him as we approached the corner”, said Austin after the race. “I could see from the way he was approaching the corner he was going to go a little wide”, observed the young driver, “so I prepared to go inside and take him going through the corner, but all of a sudden he hit the brakes and I ran into him”.
The collision, which bent the right front tie rod on Austin’s car, allowed the 4 car to open a nearly two car length lead, and made any chance for Austin to win his third road course race very difficult, but not impossible. “The car was difficult to steer after the collision, but I still had control”, stated Austin, “and I wasn’t about to throw in the towel”. Although he had a real fight on his hands keeping the #7 in the groove, Austin was able to stay in contact with the 4 and
gain ground on the leaders. Although it is doubtful he could have caught the leader, any chance to do so was ended when officials threw a black flag on the #7 at the half way point of the race, sighting “overly aggressive driving” as the reason.
“Really”, said a slightly irritated Charlie Langenstein. “Austin gets run off the track, then gets
taken out going for the lead, and then runs into the same car when the driver, for no apparent
reason, hits the brakes as he is about to be passed, and Austin gets black flagged”? “Anyone,
and I mean anyone, who has seen Austin drive knows he does not initiate contact and drives a
pretty clean race”, he added. “Personally, I think Austin showed great restraint”, concluded the
“Man, what was that all about”, asked a somewhat perplexed Austin. “If I said I didn’t want the
win I’d be lying”, he added, “but not like that”. “This thing of slamming into people, spinning
them out, driving down on them; and all for a trophy”, noted the young road course warrior.
“Now that’s real sportsmanship”.
With only one race remaining in the Winter Heat Series, the KAR Racing Team has made the
decision to forgo participating in the final Bandolero Young Guns race and will instead enter a
car in the Legends Car Semi-Pro Division for the final week. “It’s no secret Austin will be
moving up to a Legends Car next year”, noted Austin’s father. “We were going to wait until the
Summer Shootout Series later this year”, he continued, “but events of this past week kind of
forced our hand a little.” “The Bandolero had been for sale in anticipation of the move and we
have been approached by a buyer, so I see no point in tearing up equipment just to prove a
point”, he concluded.
Standing at the rear of the trailer, Austin starred in at the Bandolero, an ever so slight smile on his face. “I’m looking forward to moving into the Legends Series”, said the young hot shoe. “I’ve had a lot of fun running in the Bandolero Young Guns Series, and I’ve made a lot of good friends”, he noted, “but I’m ready to make the move”. Austin turned and took a few steps and
stopped. “You know, I love driving a race car”, he said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else, ever”. I’m ready to move up”.
Austin would like all his sponsoring partners: A.E. Smith Electric, AutoTrader.com, Calico High
Performance Coatings, Charlie Langenstein Speed Shop, Coconut Island, Design Engineering
Inc., Energy Logic, Finger Food Products & Original Pizza Logs, Impact Racing Products, J.
Edwards Graphics, John Davison Racers Designs, Lake Norman Soda Blasters, Micro-Armor,
Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort, Performance Prime, Pick-n-Pull Auto Salvage, PUMA, QA-1
Precision Products, Razoos Cajun Eatery, Rifenburg Construction, Scotty’s Fashions, Schroth
Racing, Sweeteners Plus, Taste Apple, Tathwell Printing, The Brake Man, Thermal Control
Products, TruckSavvy.com, Walker Lawn Mowers by GHS; to know that none of this year’s
accomplishments would be possible without their support.
For more information about Austin Langenstein, his team and sponsors, please visit his website
KAR Racing Communications, Press Release