RAINERD, Minnesota: Reigning World Champion Shawn Langdon is second, and Khalid AlBalooshi is 12th for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team, three-time and defending NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champions owned by HE Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, in Brainerd, Minnesota qualifying.
Both drivers will now try to improve their positions and get ready for race day at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, the 17th of 24 races making up the United States’ NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Qualifying resumed with eliminations set for roday.
Langdon and his silver Al Anabi team were on a very good pass in the first round of qualifying until the tires on the car began losing traction slowing Langdon to a 3.936-second that placed him seventh in the order.
In the second round, though, Langdon and his silver Al Anabi team were brilliant.
Langdon’s 3.815-second qualifying effort at more than 321 mph moved him all the way up to second in the order.
“The silver Al Anabi car was on a really good run in the first round until we hazed the tires a little bit,” Langdon said.
“We were on a pass that could have been the best of the round. We made an excellent run in the second round – it was the best run we thought we could make under the conditions,” he added.
“We’re happy to be second and will now focus on getting ready for race day on Sunday.”
AlBalooshi and his gold Al Anabi team were fifth after the first session with a 3.914-second pass at more than 306 mph.
In the second session, the gold Al Anabi car dropped a cylinder the instant the Dubai driver stood on the throttle which slowed driver and car to a 4.016-second result.
Having had engine problems in the best conditions of the day, AlBalooshi reached the middle of the qualifying process with the 12th quickest time.
“Our team made a good run in the first round,” AlBalooshi said.
“We were happy with the start and looking forward to the second run in the cool air. But the engine in the Al Anabi car had some problems so we did not get the position we wanted, but I know everything will be OK. We have a good hot rod, and I know my crew chief, Jason (McCulloch) will get everything figured out before it is time to race on Sunday, he added.”
Al Anabi Racing operates out of multiple locations in both the United States and Qatar. In the United States, the Brownsburg, Ind.-based operation is a two-car NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series team that is managed by Alan Johnson Racing.
Sheikh Khalid’s initiative has created increased international awareness of the State of Qatar while highlighting the nation’s international sports outreach.
Johnson is a 15-time NHRA champion in various capacities including team owner and manager.