Mechanical issues dash Al Anabi Racing Team’s hopes
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA THE Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team of Qatar, a two-time defending NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel World Championship team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani, battled mechanical issues at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, the fifth round of the 23- race 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season.
According to reports coming from Charlotte, North Carolina, after leading the first round of qualifying on Friday, Dubai driver Khalid al Balooshi was the No. 7 qualifier on the strength of a 3.830-second pass at 323.58 mph. The qualifying speed is a career best for the rookie Top Fuel driver. In eliminations, Balooshi’s gold Al Anabi dragster was on a great pass in the four-wide race until the car smoked the tires at about half track, and Balooshi was eliminated. He remains 13th in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails 12th-placed Terry McMillen by four points and leads 14th-place Cory McClenathan by 92 points.
“Everything was good until the car started to spin the tires,” Balooshi said. “I feel bad about our team.
This is the second race when both cars went out in the first round. I had a better week, and I am feeling more comfortable in the car. I think our team will be OK; everybody is working hard, and I hope soon, we’ll all be better. I thank Sheikh Khalid for this opportunity.” In the silver Al Anabi car, Shawn Langdon was the No. 4 qualifier with a 3.805-second pass at 325.06 mph. Like Balooshi, Langdon’s qualifying speed is the fastest of his career.
Langdon’s silver Al Anabi car had mechanical problems from the beginning of the four-wide first round. The engine dropped a cylinder immediately, and shortly thereafter, the car’s safety system sensed an engine malfunction and deployed the car’s parachutes. Langdon was eliminated in the first round. He remains fifth in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings, trailing fourth-placed Morgan Lucas by 90 points.
“Even though the results haven’t shown what we are capable of here at Al Anabi Racing, it’s not the end of the world,” Langdon said.
“It’s disappointing to start the year this way because we all have such high expectations. We are all working as hard as we can for Sheikh Khalid and the Al Anabi team, but everything happens for a reason. I look back at Las Vegas, and losing on a hole shot was a good thing because I re-evaluated what I was doing. This weekend, my reaction times were better and more consistent that they’ve been in a long time. Maybe the Al Anabi silver car will be a little better at the next race because of what happened today. When we get to Houston in two weeks, driver and crew will be ready to go.” The Al Anabi Racing team will be back in action April 27-29, 2012 at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas near Houston.