SONOMA, California: This season’s trials and tribulations of the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team have been well documented.
Drivers Khalid AlBalooshi and Shawn Langdon and their teams have been working to return the teams to championship form, but last week’s race in Denver, Colorado forced all of the teams to change their setups to race at an altitude of more than a mile.
Teams can resume their evolution at sea level at this weekend’s 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Northern California, the 15th of 24 races making up the United States’ 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Qualifying is set for tomorrow and Saturday with eliminations scheduled for Sunday.
Langdon and the silver Al Anabi team have made great strides this season.
Despite the first-round loss last weekend in Denver, the team has been making more excellent runs more often; Langdon has won a race and advanced to at least the semi-finals in six of the last 10 races and is third in points.
Returning to Sonoma this weekend as the defending champion, Langdon knows Sonoma Raceway is a race track at which his team can certainly excel and take another step towards the long-awaited return to championship form. With just four races remaining in the NHRA regular season, the time has come to get the tune-up dialed in.
“Sonoma is a good track for the Al Anabi team; we’re very familiar with it,” Langdon said.
“It’s always nice to go back to a track as the defending champion. We obviously ran really well there last year so we’re familiar with how to make our car run well at Sonoma - especially when the track heats up on Sunday.” AlBalooshi and his gold Al Anabi team were also making major improvements before the team changed the car around to run most efficiently at last weekend’s high-altitude race near Denver.
Now, with the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series headed back down the mountain to race at a more normal altitude in California, the team can return to its path to tune-up efficiency improvement and hopefully get back to winning rounds on Sunday. “Denver was not a good race for our team, and I know we are happy to race in Sonoma this week,” AlBalooshi said.
“In Sonoma, we need to forget what happened in Denver. I think over there (in Sonoma), it will be different. We can go back to work on the things we were doing on the car before we changed everything in Denver,” he added.
“We have been fighting to find our tune-up this year, and we are very close. Sonoma is a good track for our team; Shawn won the race last year. We can look back at all our notes from past to get our car back.”