INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: Reigning World Champion Shawn Langdon stood third while Khalid AlBalooshi took 15th for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team after the first of five rounds of qualifying for the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, the 18th of 24 races making up the United States’ NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
At the largest and most-prestigious drag racing event in the world, teams have five chances to make a qualifying attempt rather than the normal four rounds.
On Friday evening, teams had their first chance to qualify, and as is almost always the case at the US Nationals, huge crowds were on hand on the night to take in the day’s lone qualifying run.
AlBalooshi was the first Al Anabi driver to qualify, and the gold Al Anabi car appeared to be on a brilliant run when the car smoked the tires in the middle of the run forcing the third year driver to abort the remainder of his qualifying attempt.
AlBalooshi’s 5.066-second effort is 15th after the first of five qualifying runs.
A few pairs later, Langdon made an excellent opening pass and dazzled the huge crowd with a 3.808-second effort at more than 313 mph and is third after the opening day.
The qualifying attempts double as the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the third-year special event for race winners and one driver selected by a fan vote and drawing.
In Traxxas Shootout first round, AlBalooshi and Langdon will race each other for the right to advance to the Traxxas Shootout semi-finals.
The drivers reaching the Traxxas Shootout finals will race after the second round of Top Fuel qualifying, which doubles as the semifinals. 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.
H E Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani’s initiative has created increased international awareness of the State of Qatar while highlighting the nation’s international sports outreach. Alan Johnson is a 15-time NHRA champion in various capacities including crew chief, team owner and team manager.