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2014 NHRA:The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Las Vegas NHRA
Posted by: newsla on Mar 25, 2014 - 02:01 PM
NHRA
2014 NHRA:The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Las Vegas NHRA


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

 

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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
2014 wins/final rounds: 1/1 (1.000)
Career wins/final rounds: 3/5 (.600)
2014 No. 1 Qualifiers: 0
Career No. 1 qualifiers: 0
Career-best points finish: 8th (2013)
Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances: 1 (2013)
First professional start: Pomona1, 2012
Career-best elapsed time: 3.735 seconds (Reading 2012)
Career-best speed: 328.46 mph (Reading, 2012)

■ Dubai native Khalid alBalooshi, the first Middle Eastern driver to compete in a major United States Motorsports series, enters the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in fourth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails third-place Steve Torrence by 33 points and leads fifth-place Spencer Massey by 17 points.

■ AlBalooshi won the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., last month. It was the third Top Fuel win of his career, and with that win, he became the first Top Fuel driver to qualify for the 2014 Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The third-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. AlBalooshi also qualified for the Traxxas Nitro Shootout last year but was eliminated in the first round.

■ Earlier this month in Gainesville, Fla., alBalooshi was the No. 9 qualifier; he lost to Steve Torrence in the first round of eliminations.

■ AlBalooshi finished a career-best eighth in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He won a race and recorded two runner-up finishes along the way. Now a three-time Top Fuel winner, he is far more experienced in Top Fuel than he was when he began making the move from Pro Mod to Top Fuel two years ago. The Dubai native had 25 round wins last season. In his 2012 rookie season, alBalooshi won a total of 14 rounds of racing showing an improvement of nearly 79% last season.

■ The Al-Anabi Racing Team won at Las Vegas in 2010 with driver Larry Dixon and in 2011 with driver Del Worsham. One year ago at this event, alBalooshi was the No. 5 qualifier but lost to Terry McMillen in the first round of eliminations.

■ AlBalooshi’s gold Al-Anabi dragster has a new look for 2014. New this year, the car has gold lettering on a black background making the car radically different from that of teammate Shawn Langdon. For those who had problems telling the difference between the Al-Anabi cars, it is a welcome change.

■ AlBalooshi won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio last July. It was his first win of the season and the second of his Top Fuel career. He had one win in three final rounds and four semifinals last season. He won the NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa., in 2012 – his first-career Top Fuel victory.

■ AlBalooshi’s rookie year was a story of two very different half seasons. In the first half of the 2012 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.

■ Because he finished eighth in the final 2013 NHRA MelloYello Top Fuel point standings, alBalooshi is able to display the No. 8 on the rear wing of the gold Al-Anabi Racing dragster. However, alBalooshi chose to keep the No. 99 on the car as a tribute to Al-Anabi Racing team owner His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani; 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 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; he now has 162 career wins.


AlBalooshi prior to Las Vegas:
“I feel good about the race this weekend in Las Vegas. The Al-Anabi team is strong; both cars are strong. I think we are going to Las Vegas to do something good this weekend. I know what has happened so far this year, but I am not worried about our team. I know we are one of the best teams. We have a chance to win any race; on any weekend one of our cars can win the race.
“I feel this way because of what I have been seeing in the races. When our cars are running well, they have some of the best times. Both cars have been good this year – sometimes better than everybody else, sometimes very close to the top people in the show. So when I drive to Las Vegas on Thursday, I will feel very excited to race this weekend. I cannot wait to get there and get back in my car. After what happened to our team last race (first-round loss in Gainesville, Fla.), I am ready to start the weekend and keep going.”

For additional information on team manager Alan Johnson or Khalid alBalooshi, please visit www.alanabiracing.com to view their full bios.

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: 7/11 (.636)
Career wins/final rounds: 8/18 (.444)
2014 No. 1 qualifiers: 1
Career No. 1 qualifiers: 14
Best points finish: 1st (2013)
Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances: 5 (2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ‘13)
First start: Pomona 1, 2009
Career-best elapsed time: 3.712 seconds (Reading, 2012)
Career-best speed: 334.15 mph (Reading, 2012)

■ 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon enters the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in sixth place in the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails fifth-place Spencer Massey by 12 points and leads seventh-place Brittany Force by 10 points.

■ Langdon was the No. 1 qualifier at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals earlier this month in Florida. It was his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 14th of his career. In the first three races of the season, Langdon has qualified second, fourth and first. Despite his lofty Gatornationals qualifying effort, Langdon lost to J. R. Todd in the first round of eliminations.

■ Langdon’s silver Al-Anabi car has been running well in 2014 despite winning just two rounds in the season’s first three races. He qualified second at the season-opening race in Pomona, Calif., but lost a very close drag race to his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi (3.73 to 3.76 seconds with a .007 margin of victory), and alBalooshi went on to win the race. In Phoenix, he was the No. 4 qualifier but lost to race winner Antron Brown in the second round when the engine on the Al-Anabi dragster dropped a cylinder. In Gainesville, Langdon claimed his first No. 1 qualifier of the season but lost in the first round. The silver Al-Anabi dragster continues to compete at a very high level despite some unfortunate racing luck.

■ The Al-Anabi Racing Team won at Las Vegas in 2010 with driver Larry Dixon and in 2011 with driver Del Worsham. One year ago at this event, Langdon was the No. 4 qualifier but lost to David Grubnic in the first round of eliminations.

■ Langdon’s average qualifying position in 2014 is 1.667. He was an excellent qualifier last year; his average qualifying position was 3.75. He had seven No. 1 qualifiers qualified in the top-five positions at 19 of the 24 events last year. Langdon has 13 career No. 1 qualifiers.

■ Langdon is the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion for the first time in his career. Last year’s title was the third in the last four seasons for the Al-Anabi Racing Team. In addition, it was Langdon’s fourth NHRA National Championship. He won the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster National Championship in the under 14 division and the NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp championship in 2007 and ’08. He is the first alumnus of the NHRA Junior Dragster program to win a Mello Yello Championship.

■ When Langdon won the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last year, he became the fifth driver to win a Top Fuel title with Alan Johnson serving as the crew chief, team owner or team manager. The other Top Fuel champions that worked with Johnson during their championship seasons are: Gary Scelzi, Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon and Del Worsham.

■ When Langdon won the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last year, it was the 11th Top Fuel title for legendary tuner and Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson. He won his previous 10 Top Fuel championships serving as crew chief, team owner and team manager. Including his NHRA National Championships in alcohol dragster, Johnson now has 15 NHRA National Championships.

■ Langdon had seven wins in 11 final-round appearances last season, and he advanced to at least the semifinals at 16 of the season’s last 20 races. He has eight-career Top Fuel wins.

■ Langdon recorded the fastest speed to 1,000 feet in NHRA history in October of 2012 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 and set the record. Langdon’s run still stands as the second-quickest 1,000-foot run in NHRA history; in fact, Langdon holds the second, third and eighth-quickest elapsed times in NHRA history.

■ Langdon won the second annual Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Indianapolis last year; he qualified for the special event when he won the 2013 Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. Langdon defeated Brittany Force, Antron Brown and Steve Torrence on his way to winning the second-year special event and its $100,000 prize. He went on to win the U.S. Nationals the next day.

■ The Al-Anabi Racing Team has won 40 races in its first five seasons (2009 -’13) for an average of eight wins a season or a third of the races. The team won a total of eight races in 2013 with Langdon taking seven wins and Khalid alBalooshi winning once. In 2012, Langdon and alBalooshi each reached the winner’s circle once – the two-win total was the lowest since the Al-Anabi Racing team began racing 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. Including the 2014 season, the Al-Anabi Racing Team has now won 41 races.

■ Langdon qualified for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs in each of his five previous seasons driving a Top Fuel car. He won the 2013 NHJRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last year, finished fourth in 2012 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 Las Vegas:

“I still have a lot of confidence in the Al-Anabi car and the Al-Anabi team; we still have a car that can go out there and win a race. The results haven’t shown it yet this year, but we have a great car, and we are able to make good runs just about any time. With the weather conditions looking pretty good for this weekend in Las Vegas, I think we’ll be able to put down some good runs this weekend and then get a little bit of racing luck on Sunday and go some rounds.

“It’s tough in Top Fuel. We really haven’t done anything where we’ve made huge mistakes. For some reasonon Sunday, the Al-Anabi car hasn’t cooperated like it did last year when we always seemed to make a lot of good runs on race day. We haven’t had that much success yet, but it’s still early in the year. We’re not hanging our heads about anything. We have some things we can improve with the car so we’re not discouraged by any means.

“At some point in the next few races, though, we need to get the Al-Anabi car back in the winner’s circle so the rest of the competition doesn’t run away in the points. We know we need to start making good runs on Sunday; that’s what our team is used to doing. We need to keep our focus and get back to going rounds like we did last year; then the wins will take care of themselves. We have the mentality that we can win every race we enter, but it doesn’t always work out. We just have to do the best job we can, try to qualify well on Friday and Saturday and do our best on race day – that’s really all you can do.”


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