LAS VEGAS: Dubai driver Khalid alBalooshi is ninth and 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion Shawn Langdon is 10th in Las Vegas for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team, the three-time and defending NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champions owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani.
The teams are halfway through qualifying for the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, the fourth of 24 events making up the United States’ 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Qualifying resumed yesterday with eliminations set for today.
On both of AlBalooshi’s qualifying attempts, the gold Al Anabi dragster was poised for excellence. In the afternoon session, the Dubai native appeared headed for a brilliant result when the Al Anabi car had problems at half track and posted a 4.072-second result at nearly 230 mph. Despite the problems, the run was fifth-quickest of the session. In the evening session, alBalooshi was again on a great run but had engine problems late in the run. Still, he improved his time with a 3.847-second effort. However, multiple drivers made bigger improvements relegating alBalooshi to ninth after two qualifying rounds.
“On both runs today, our Al Anabi car was on a good run when we had some problems,” alBalooshi said. “Both times, we were very close to making a run that could have been best in the show, but this is the race. Our team will try to improve our position on Saturday and be ready to race for Sheikh Khalid on Sunday.”
Reigning Top Fuel World Champion Shawn Langdon made a nice run in the first qualifying session, reaching the finish line in 3.848-seconds at 316.90 mph and was third after the first run. In the evening session, the silver Al Anabi car launched beautifully but shook the tires violently, forcing Langdon to abort the run. Seven teams ran better in the evening run than Langdon did in the first, relegating the World Champ to 10th after two qualifying rounds.
“The Al Anabi team made a good run in the first round on Friday, and we were going for the No. 1 qualifier in the second,” Langdon said. “The Al Anabi car launched perfectly, but we missed the set-up a little bit and shook the tires so I shut it off. It’s unfortunate because we probably would have made an excellent run, but that’s OK. We have two chances to improve our position, and we’ll be ready to race on Sunday – we’re hoping for a great weekend so we can get our first win of the season for Sheikh Khalid.”