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2013 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Englishtown, N.J. NHRA Preview
Posted by: newsla on May 28, 2013 - 03:54 PM
2013 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Englishtown, N.J. NHRA Preview

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster (silver):

Residence: Avon, Ind.
Hometown: Mira Loma, Calif.
Date of birth: Sept. 3, 1982
Crew chief: Brian Husen
Al-Anabi Racing Team Owner: His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani
Al-Anabi Racing Team Manager: Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson Racing Owner: Alan Johnson
2013 wins/final rounds: 2/4 (.500)
Career wins/final rounds: 3/11 (.272)
2013 No. 1 qualifiers: 3
Career No. 1 qualifiers: 9
Best points finish: 4th (2012)
Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances: 4 (2009, ’10, ’11, ‘12)
First start: Pomona 1, 2009
Career-best elapsed time: 3.712 seconds (Reading, 2012)
Career-best speed: 334.15 mph (Reading, 2012)


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■ Shawn Langdon enters the Toyota NHRA Summernationals in second place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails points leader Tony Schumacher by 34 points and leads third-place Antron Brown by 38 points.

■ Langdon won the silver anniversary NHRA Kansas Nationals earlier this month in Topeka, Kan. It was his second win of the season and the third of his career. After qualifying No. 1, Langdon defeated Pat Dakin, Steve Torrence, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher on his way to the winner’s circle. The race win had additional significance: it was the 100th start of Langdon’s Top Fuel career, and the final round was his 100th career round win.

■ The silver Al-Anabi car showed tremendous consistency in Topeka. Langdon posted seven consecutive runs in the 3.70-second range and saved his best for the final round where he posted a 3.750-second pass to defeat Schumacher with the low elapsed time of the weekend. In addition, he recorded the low elapsed time in both Saturday qualifying sessions as well as three of the four elimination rounds.

■ Langdon has been an excellent qualifier this season. In the last six races, he has qualified third, fourth, first, third, first and first; his average qualifying position in the last six races is 2.17. He was the No. 1 qualifier at the last two races and three of the last four races taking top qualifier honors at Charlotte, Atlanta Dragway and Topeka; Langdon now has nine career No. 1 qualifiers.

■ Langdon has advanced to at least the semifinals at five of the eight races so far this season; he has two wins among four final-round appearances – Pomona, Calif., Charlotte, Baytown, Texas and Topeka – and he has advanced to the final round at three of the last four races. Langdon won the season-opening NHRA Winternationals and the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka earlier this month.

■ The Al-Anabi Racing team has had some excellent results at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. The team won Englishtown in 2009 and ’10 with driver Larry Dixon. In 2011, Del Worsham was the runner-up. Last year at Englishtown, Langdon was the No. 3 qualifier; he defeated Dom Lagana before Brandon Bernstein upset him in the second round of eliminations.

■ Langdon leads the Top Fuel class in reaction leaving the starting line .051 seconds after the light turns green. He leaves the starting line before his opponent 63% of the time. Last year, Langdon led the Top Fuel class in 2012 reaction time leaving the starting line quicker than any other Top Fuel driver with an average reaction time of .057 of a second. He left the starting line before his opponent an astounding 72% of the time, which also led the Top Fuel class last season.

■ With Langdon’s win in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. in February, he has qualified for the Traxxas Shootout. The second-year special event for eight Top Fuel teams and eight Funny Car teams is set for Indianapolis during the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend. Last year, Langdon did not qualify for the event because he did not win a race prior to it nor did he advance into the race from the drawing for non-winners.

■ Langdon recorded the fastest speed to 1,000 feet in NHRA history last fall in Reading, Pa. when he reached 334.15 mph. In addition, during the same Reading race weekend, his 3.712-second elapsed time was the national elapsed-time record until Antron Brown made a quicker pass in the same weekend. It still stands as the second-quickest 1,000-foot run in NHRA history.

■ Since December, Langdon has been serving as the Al-Anabi Racing interim general manager. When Chad Head departed the race team in December to join his father’s construction business and drive the Head Racing Funny Car, Langdon stepped in to assist the team with day-to-day operations at the race shop. He will continue in this role until Head’s replacement is hired, but during race weekends, Langdon will focus solely on driving the Al-Anabi Racing silver Top Fuel dragster.

■ The Al-Anabi Racing Team won a total of two races in 2012 with Langdon and his teammate Khalid alBalooshi each reaching the winner’s circle once. The two-race win total was the lowest season total since the team was founded in 2009. That season, the team won eight times with five in Top Fuel and three in Funny Car; in 2010, Al-Anabi Racing visited the Top Fuel winner’s circle 12 times followed by 10 wins in 2011 when the team fielded two Top Fuel dragsters for the first time. Langdon claimed last season’s first Al-Anabi race win at the season’s 18th race.

■ Langdon qualified for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs in each of his four previous seasons driving a Top Fuel car. He finished fourth in the final NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings last season after finishing ninth in 2011, fifth in 2010, and ninth in 2009, his rookie season.

■ Langdon joined the Al-Anabi Racing team prior to the 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. He won the 2007 and ’08 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Super Comp championships and the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster championship in the 14-under division making him a three-time NHRA national series champion.

Langdon prior to Englishtown:
“I’m feeling very good about how the Al-Anabi car has been running lately and how things are going. We are excited to get back to Englishtown this weekend coming off the win in Topeka. We really feel we are capable of winning multiple races so that’s even more incentive to get to Englishtown and get back on the race track. We are a Toyota team so it would be extra-special to win this weekend’s race.

“As a driver, when the car is running consistently well and responding the way Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) and Brian (crew chief Brian Husen) want it to, it gives you a lot of confidence. My confidence is as high as it’s ever been. I’ve known since I joined this team before last season that this team is capable of winning races and contending for a championship so I’m not at all surprised that we’re running as well as we are right now. It’s just very nice to be able to get the car on a roll like it has been at the last few races. We’ve been winning rounds each weekend getting to the semifinals and finals. You can tell from the Al-Anabi crew guys, they’re fired up and ready to go. It’s an exciting time for everybody at Al-Anabi Racing right now.

“We all know we’re going to have ups and downs, and it might have been a little bit of a slow process to get things how Alan wanted them to be, but that’s one of the great things about the Al-Anabi team. If they’re down for couple of races, they’re going to come back and be that much stronger from going through the down times.

“Alan has the vision going right now - it’s been a long, slow process with the things he’s changed on this car working with Brian. We know we have a fast car; it’s just a matter of keeping it consistent on Sunday. Fortunately, we were able to get a lot of 3.70s in a row in Topeka. This car is flying right now, and Alan believes in himself and his team. He’s always moving forward looking for the next big thing that will give our team an advantage. He’s just as fired up as he always is, but I think maybe he has a little but more confidence knowing he can push the car a little harder now because he and Brian have found that sweet spot in the tune up. Now we can push the envelope a little bit and try to get another hundredth or two in ET (elapsed time).

“When the car is consistent like the Al-Anabi car is right now, it’s a lot more pressure knowing you have a great car underneath you. It’s kind of yours to mess up. As long as you keep doing your job, you’re gonna go rounds. I knew that coming over to Al-Anabi Racing. Alan is one of a kind; he works magic, and I’m just glad to get the job done. I hope we can keep having the same kind of success he’s had over the years.”

Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster (gold):

Residence: Los Angeles, Calif.
Hometown: Dubai, UAE
Date of Birth: July 27, 1979
Crew Chief: Jason McCulloch
Al-Anabi Racing Team Owner: His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani
Al-Anabi Racing Team Manager: Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson Racing Owner: Alan Johnson
2012 wins/final rounds: 1/1 (1.000)
Career wins/final rounds: 1/1 (1.000)
2012 No. 1 Qualifiers: 0
Career No. 1 qualifiers: 0
Career-best points finish: 11th (2012)
Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances: None
First professional start: Pomona1, 2012
Career-best elapsed time: 3.735 seconds (Reading 2012)
Career-best speed: 328.46 mph (Reading, 2012)

■ Khalid alBalooshi enters the Toyota NHRA Summernationals in sixth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails fifth-place Doug Kalitta by 28 points and leads seventh-place Brandon Bernstein by 28 points. Fifth place through eighth place in points are separated by just 61 points.

■ AlBalooshi advanced to the quarterfinals in Topeka earlier this month where he was the No. 4 qualifier. During eliminations, he defeated Brittany Force in the first round before losing to Spencer Massey in the quarterfinals. With his quarterfinal appearance, alBalooshi now has eight round wins in the season’s first eight races. Last year, he didn’t win his eighth round until the season’s 21st race. His sophomore season is off to a much better start than his rookie season in 2012.

■ AlBalooshi has been a solid qualifier this season. He has qualified in the top six at six of the season’s eight races; his career-best qualifying position came at Houston Raceway Park in April when he was the No. 2 qualifier.

■ One year ago at this event, alBalooshi was the No.7 qualifier; he lost to Clay Millican in the first round of eliminations.

■ AlBalooshi captured the first Top Fuel win of his career during his rookie season last year. On a cold, rainy weekend during which national performance records were being set with impressive regularity, alBalooshi defeated Spencer Massey, Ike Maier, his teammate Shawn Langdon and eventual 2012 Top Fuel champion Anton Brown in the final round of the Auto Parts Nationals in Reading, Pa.

■ AlBalooshi’s rookie year was a story of two very different half seasons. In the first half of the season, alBalooshi was defeated in the first round of eliminations at all 12 races. However, after getting his first Top Fuel round win at Denver in July, alBalooshi advanced to at least the second round of eliminations at10 of the last 11 races of the season including each of the last nine. He had a win and a semifinal in the last three races, and before he lost in the Las Vegas semifinals at the second-to-last race of the year, he had won six consecutive rounds of racing.

■ AlBalooshi chose the No. 99 for the Al-Anabi Racing gold dragster as a tribute to Al-Anabi Racing team owner His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani because nine is Sheikh Khalid’s favorite number.

■ AlBalooshi, the first Middle Eastern driver to compete in a major United States Motorsports series, joined the Al-Anabi Racing Team as a Pro Mod driver when it was formed in 2009 racing in both Arabian Drag Racing League and American Drag Racing League competition. He is the 2011 NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod champion. Prior to joining the Top Fuel portion of the Al-Anabi Racing Team in 2012, he had 158 career race wins in various classes of competition.

AlBalooshi prior to Englishtown:
“We are ready to race this week in New Jersey. This race is special for our Al-Anabi team because it is a Toyota race. We want to win for Sheikh Khalid every week, but this week, we would like to win for Toyota. Shawn’s team won the last race, and our team is getting better and better each week. I am proud of the Al-Anabi team and what we have done this year. I am happy with our season so far because we are much better than we were last year, but I know we can do better. Jason (crew chief Jason McCulloch) knows we can do better, and everybody on our team knows we can do better. I am excited about how good our team can be.”

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