INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: Reigning World Champion Shawn Langdon and his teammate, Khalid AlBalooshi, made two excellent runs on Saturday for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team at the US Nationals in Indianapolis and are fifth and 13th respectively.
Both drivers will now try to improve their positions and get ready for race day at 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. The eliminations are set for today.
Saturday began with the first round of the third annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout, the special event for seven Top Fuel race winners and one driver that got into the race through a fan vote and drawing, and the round doubled as the second US Nationals qualifying attempt.
With the first-round matchups created through the current NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series point standings, Langdon, the defending champion, was the No.3 seed and raced the No.6 seed, AlBalooshi. Both Al Anabi cars made excellent runs, but Langdon was a touch quicker than AlBalooshi and advanced to the semifinals.
There, he raced Richie Crampton; Langdon’s silver Al Anabi car launched perfectly and was on a dazzling pace when the car smoked the tyres allowing Crampton to take the victory and advance to the finals.
Later, Langdon returned to the line to make his second qualifying attempt of the day. He posted an excellent 3.779-second elapsed time at nearly 322 mph and is the No. 5 qualifier with two qualifying attempts remaining.
“It was a tough race out here,” Langdon said.
“We wanted to defend last year’s Traxxas Shootout championship, but we just got caught trying to push the Al Anabi car a little too hard. We wanted to get the win, and we just tried a little too hard,” he added.
“We were able to come back up later and make that 3.77 run. We felt pretty good about it; we’re making runs down the track so that’s a positive improvement. We are just a tick off the pace the fastest cars are setting, but we should be able to do a little homework and catch up to them. I still feel good about the weekend.”
AlBalooshi made an excellent run against Langdon in the Traxxas Shootout first round which also doubled as the second of five US Nationals qualifying rounds.
His 3.81-second effort was his best of the weekend and moved him up to eighth in the order. In the final qualifying attempt on Saturday, AlBalooshi and his gold Al Anabi team stepped up a little more with a 3.808-second run, but with other teams making even stronger runs, AlBalooshi dropped back to 13th with two rounds of qualifying remaining.
“We are making good runs, but we are still 13th,” AlBalooshi said.
“A lot of the teams are making good runs. The top-eight teams ran quicker than 3.79 seconds. Something was missing in our last run, but I still think we are in good shape for the weekend,” he said.