BRAINERD, Minnesota: It has been an interesting regular season for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team.
Both Khalid AlBalooshi’s gold team and Shawn Langdon’s silver team have had considerable ups and downs this year, but with just two races remaining in the regular season now, drivers and teams find themselves quite confident entering weekend’s 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota the 17th of 24 races making up the United States’ 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying is set for tomorrow and Saturday with eliminations scheduled for Sunday.
AlBalooshi has two wins this season; one in February and one last month, but in the middle were some trying times.
The team fought tune-up challenges and some problems along the way dropping from No. 1 in the point standings all the way down to ninth.
Still, the team made progress, and with last month’s win, the team has moved back up to eighth place in points. But more importantly, AlBalooshi now leads the 10th-place JR Todd by 81 points before the top-10 drivers in the standings advance into the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.
With continued success and a little luck, AlBalooshi could still move up in points before the playoffs begin.
“The gold Al Anabi team had a good weekend two weeks ago in Seattle,” AlBalooshi said. “I have been saying since Norwalk (the July race in Norwalk, Ohio) that we had our car back, and two weeks ago in Seattle, it showed. The car was consistent, and I think now it is a good time to get the car to be perfect. Now we can get the car how we need it to be for the rest of the (regular) season and then the play-offs (Countdown to the Championship NHRA Play-offs).
Reigning World Champion Langdon has only one win on the season, but he is third in the current point standings having advanced to at least the semifinals at eight of the last 12 races.
He has four runner-up finishes in addition to his win. Langdon’s silver Al Anabi car has been improving steadily, and now, driver and team are getting more confident with every trip down the race track.
“With the way the Al Anabi car ran in Sonoma and Seattle, we don’t just have a car that’s good, we have a car that has potential to be great,” Langdon said.
“A couple of our runs we made down the track in Seattle, like when we set low ET (elapsed time) of the weekend in the first round of eliminations, the car was so good, and we saw after it that we could have made it a little bit better. The car is manageable; it wants to run. “We just need to build up a little more confidence in making the right calls and adjustments with it. We’re making huge strides with our tune-up.”