Drag Racing, Feature Article, Washington — June 25, 2004 at 4:47 pm

Jody and Toby Lang (issue 59)




By Steve Heeb


Jody Lang sums up his racing philosophy with a single word.

His brother Toby would agree, saying that Jody’s attention to detail has led to his consistent success in the Pro and Sportsman brackets at Bremerton.

Jody says he’ll race pretty much anything with no electronics.

“It’s not the speed,” he emphasizes. “It’s the competition.”

The staging lights to Jody’s reputation for machine-like consistency and Toby’s run on the national circuit were first tripped nearly two decades ago.

In 1985, Jody turned out with a Camaro for a few races in Seattle Int’l Raceway’s Street bracket. He says he wasn’t doing that much racing at the time.

By the end of that year, he picked up a non-descript blue Chevelle and had it ready for racing the next season.

“I was having fun,” he recalls of the first couple of seasons. “It was a blast.”

Jody says fellow racer Dale Green helped him get started and headed in the right direction. He also credits racers Tony Hadley and Richard Smith.

“That’s how you learn,” Jody says of the more seasoned drivers. “You see what they do.”

Jody’s first win came in late 1987, but it was a runner-up finish that made a bigger impact on his racing. Second place in one of SIR’s “Bracketeer” races scored Jody a check for $800 — a lot of money for a young racer in those days.

Jody also competed in the track’s Alston Series.

“It was pretty hit and miss until 1990,” Jody explains. “I made a few changes and things started to come around.”

Jody was track champion at SIR and won the Race of Champions at Medford that season.

“It was my first really big win,” Jody says of the Race of Champions victory. “My first Oscar.”

It would be the first of many. Jody doesn’t keep a count of the NHRA trophies he has won in the years since, humbly estimating that he’s got “quite a few.”

It was in 1990 that Jody’s brother Toby began racing.

“Jody and I were going to Ashcroft and he invited Toby along to see what racing was all about,” mother Janet recalls. “Toby found out more and wanted to race.”

The next year Toby was driving Jody’s Street car for the 1991 season.

“They are pretty dedicated,” Janet says of her racing sons. “They do the best with their abilities. They won’t settle for less.”

Toby was keeping busy with a full racing schedule that included Portland Int’l Raceway on Wednesdays; SIR on Fridays and Saturdays; and Bremerton on Sundays.

“I was just trying to race at as many events as I could,” says Toby. “To get better.”

In 1992, Toby won the Street bracket titles at both Bremerton and Seattle. The next season he claimed the 1993 Street championships at all three tracks. He backed that up in 1995 with a hat trick of another sort, besting the field in SIR’s Sportsman, Pro and Super Pro brackets.

Around this time, Jody hooked up with Fife-based Freeway Trailer Sales who provided him with a trailer package to help him haul out to the tracks.

Both brothers were solid in the bracket circuit in 1997. Work was pretty heavy at Boeing, so Jody asked Toby to drive in Pomona and Phoenix. Toby nabbed runner-up finishes at both events. He kept racing that season and the brothers headed to Phoenix for a divisional event, where they met up with Jim Meader of Yorba Linda, Calif. Meader was competing in a ’67 Camaro, so Jody suggested Meader let Toby drive Meader’s old ’69 Chevelle.

The combination worked well.

Toby still drives for Meader and by tax time this year, he already had collected national wins at Pomona and at Phoenix in Stock Eliminator.

Jody still counts Freeway Trailers among his supporters, as well as sponsorship from M+R e.t. Computers. And, of course, Jody would be remiss not to mention girlfriend Martha Thompson.

With five races for Jody and four for Toby tallied after Boise, the brothers were ranked 1-2, respectively, in the NHRA’s Stock points chase. However the season eventually pans out, both Lang brothers already have earned a place among the region’s top drag racers.

“I am proud of them,” says their mother without hesitation.

And what trophy could possibly compete with a mother’s pride?

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