Qatar’s Al Anabi enters semis
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK PHOENIX
THE QATAR Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team, owned by HE Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, advanced to the semifinals in the second race of the year on Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States.
The Phoenix race was the second of 23 races that make up America’s 2012 National Hot Rod Association Drag Racing season.
Dubai UAE native Khalid al Balooshi was the No. 9 qualifier at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. In the first round of eliminations, rookie driver al Balooshi faced veteran Morgan Lucas.
Despite a valiant effort in which al Balooshi made his best run yet as a Top Fuel driver recording a 3.808- second pass, Lucas advanced to the second round by leaving the starting line before al Balooshi. In just his second start as a Top Fuel driver in the world-famous National Hot Rod Association, al Balooshi ran one of the best passes of the weekend showing he continues to improve in his new car.
Al Balooshi leaves Phoenix in 11th place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails the drivers tied for 10th place, Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein, by 18 points and leads 12th place David Grubnic by one point.
“In the first round, Morgan Lucas had a very good reaction time, and he won the round,” al Balooshi said.
“He did a good job, and I did not do a perfect job. I have to do better with the reaction time. I know that is how racing is, but I hope personally to do better and better race-by-race. I appreciate how hard everybody on our al-Anabi Team is working, and I appreciate Sheikh Khalid for giving me this chance. But trust me, I am looking to do my best to learn and improve, and I will do everything I can to be better by the next race.” In the silver al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel car, alBalooshi’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, was the No.
1 qualifier. It was Langdon’s first No. 1 qualifier of the season and the second of his career.
In eliminations, Langdon defeated Troy Buff and Morgan Lucas before losing to eventual race winner Antron Brown in the semifinals when the Al Anabi dragster lost traction early in the run.
Langdon moves up one spot and leaves Phoenix in fifth place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails fourthplace Morgan Lucas by four points and leads sixth-place Clay Millican by 13 points.
“Our AlAnabi car was great this weekend,” Langdon said.
“Right out of the box, we qualified No. 1 and really thought we had a good shot to win the race this weekend.
We knew Antron (Brown) would make a good run in the semifinals, and we felt pretty confident in what we wanted to do. For whatever reason, we were just a little too aggressive, and the Al- Anabi Racing Team dragster didn’t make it down the track. That’s how it goes; it’s part of drag racing. We wanted to win for Sheikh Khalid and the people of Qatar, and we’re disappointed that we didn’t. We moved up one position in points which is good; we just have to make sure the Al-Anabi team is No. 1 at the end of the year. I have all the confidence in the world in these Al-Anabi guys; we’re going to be good.” The Al Anabi Racing team will be back in action March 9-11, 2012 at the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida.