Monday Conversation: Grant Langston

October 15, 2007 10:47am

Grant Langston knows how to make something out of chaos. That would make him a good choice to win a U.S. Open, but he would have to go through James Stewart and Chad Reed to take the money. Langston was second to Reed the first night in Vegas, and Stewart had pulled out. That meant the $100K was on the line the second night, but in the first turn of the main, he was on the ground! Reed, Ferry, Short, and Langston all hit the deck, and it seemed the money was speeding away. Langston got back up, but the madness was just starting. At one point, Short and Reed tangled and went backward on the start straight and tipped over. Just as they got back up, it looked like the two were practicing starts and coming right for him. It was just a crazy race....
Racer X: Was that main event the craziest thing you’ve ever raced in?
Grant Langston: Yeah, unreal. I had a good start. I was third. I had Red Dog on the left of me because I didn’t have the greatest gate pick. I was going to give Timmy the edge. I figured he would probably drift wide and I would come out okay. As I was thinking I was in the clear, then he just comes over and hits the side of me, and I went down. Then I’m trying to pick up my bike and I had to get it in neutral. I looked round and was like, all the guys one, two, three, and four, are on the ground! It was Chad, Timmy, me, Short, and Alessi, but he was gone. Four of us were down for quite a while. 

So this is an upside-down race now?
The top four guys were out, and I like, I have to go for it. I got going and Chad was right behind me and Shorty was right in front of me. I was trying to be calm about it. There was a place it was really slick, and I really messed up coming down the tunnel. Chad was all over me.
Were you full-on charging in the first few laps?
I was trying, but I was getting a little tight. I made a couple mistakes. The track was really slick. It was really easy to make mistakes. I kept trying to push. I kept making this one bobble. I could hear Chad, and I knew he was going to come to the inside of me. I tried to stick with him, then I really messed up that turn coming into the whoops. That turn was so slick, that long left. At the front end there was that double - I washed out and almost went down and had no momentum going into the whoops. I was losing touch with those guys, and when I came around the next lap, they were playing pickup sticks. The funny part was, I turned into the start straight and they were off the track kind of and had picked up their bikes and looked like they were practicing their starts! I came around the turn, and I could hear these bikes coming, and all of a sudden I feel a thud from behind. I looked over my left shoulder and didn't see anyone. I found out it was Chad, but I was spinning. Someone said he tried to cut over. It was just crazy. There was a lot of stuff going on. I didn't know what position I was in or what lap it was. I knew I was getting arm pump.
Do you remember any pit boards?
I had too much on the pit board! My mechanic was trying to give me his whole life story. He had "plus 7 laps,” what position, what person … I couldn't really figure it out in the correct order. All I saw was Byrne, just before he tipped over, and he said "Get Byrne!" So I was thinking, Maybe he knows something I don't know. I put my head down and I was adamant about getting Byrne. Just as I caught up with him he made it easy by tipping over. I was super tense, then I just mellowed out. Then I kind of figured out where I finished. I went 2-5, and I thought I should at least be on the podium. Everyone was like, "You might win," then it was "I think you won," then "I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure you won." And I was like, "Could somebody get the facts around here?" I got the answer and thought, Wow. Unreal. Just crazy. You would never have thought it would turn out this way, with that ending. Nevertheless, I am very happy.
What's your total take for the weekend, then?
I don't know what it will pay total. I would think they would pay something for last night [second place]. I think I’m going to buy myself a nice car. I was thinking about doing it with my championship bonus, but it went into my investment account. I didn't even see it. I’ve been debating on getting a nice car. I don't really know. The things I like are expensive. I friend of mine sells luxury cars. I always wanted a Bentley, but with the kids, that’s selfish - not real roomy for them. Now I’m thinking a Mercedes. 
When you got here, what were you thinking about your chances to leave with the 100 grand?
I have always said that at the U.S. Open, in the past, that maybe not the fastest guy has won. There are a number of years where the guy that stayed out of trouble and put in two consistent nights won. I had a feeling that I had a good shot at it tonight. Either I could go out and straight-up win or it goes crazy. I just thought a second last night is as good as a win, if you win the second night. I felt good in practice. I set the fastest time. I was so bummed in the superpole in that last corner when my rear wheel broke through that berm and pulled the Tuff Blox. It cost me two-tenths and I lost by a tenth. I was like, Man, I blew it!
You had quite a year. You won the outdoor championship and now this. What's next on the list?
[Pauses] Well, obviously a 450 supercross championship.
Are you going to win some main events next season?
I hope so. James is fast, and when he is upright, he is tough to beat. As we see in racing, anything is possible. I want to be on the podium as much as possible for sure. You have to put yourself in the position to be there. Anything can happen. In supercross, I never really had a good full season. Now we’re further ahead than we were a year ago. I’m really looking forward to it, and I hope to win some main events next year.