ENGLISHTOWN, New Jersey: One year ago at the Toyota NHRA Summer Nationals, things worked out just about as well as they could have for the Qatar Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel team, the three-time and defending World Championship team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani.
The event concluded with a rare “all Al-Anabi” final round, and a repeat performance is the goal at this weekend’s 45h annual Toyota NHRA Summer Nationals, the ninth of 24 races making up the United States’ 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying is set for tomorrow and Saturday.
Last year at this event, third-year Top Fuel driver Khalid alBalooshi was the No. 2 qualifier – his career best. He mowed down his competition to reach the final round of eliminations. On the silver side of the Al-Anabi pit area, Shawn Langdon was eighth quickest. But when eliminations began on Sunday, Langdon was in top form winning his first round match-up and then dispatching the No. 1 qualifier in the second. Like his teammate, he moved to the final round with ease.
The final round was simply brilliant with both Qatar Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel cars making dazzling runs. Langdon reached the finish line just .019 seconds before alBalooshi and squeaked out his third win of the 2013 season. This weekend, Langdon returns to historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey as the reigning NHRA World Champion and the defending champion of the event, yet he is still looking for his maiden win of the season.
“We had the all Al-Anabi, all Toyota final round there last year so our goal this weekend is to do that again,” Langdon said. “It would be nice to get our first win of the season this weekend for a lot of reasons. Englishtown has always been a great track; we’ve always enjoyed going there, and there’s a lot of NHRA history there. Winning the Toyota Summer Nationals last year, coming back as the defending champion this year and coming off a great race at Topeka, we are definitely feeling good vibes heading into Englishtown this weekend.”
Dubai native Khalid alBalooshi has one victory, a final-round appearance and a semifinal effort to show for his season so far. Like his teammate, alBalooshi remembers the “All Al-Anabi” final round last year, and he hopes for the same in 2014….but with a slightly different outcome of course. The Peninsula