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Jul 15, 2014 - 03:16 PM
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2014 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Denver NHRA Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jul 15, 2014 - 03:13 PM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Denver NHRA Preview


■ Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon enters the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in third place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Antron Brown by 144 points and leads fourth-place Spencer Massey by 158 points.

 

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■ The Mopar Mile-High Nationals begins the grueling three-race Western Swing. Racing on three-consecutive weekends is no longer unique as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series now races on four consecutive weekends somewhat routinely, but what makes these three races so difficult is the distance the crews must drive between races in Denver and Sonoma, Calif., 1,250 miles, between Sonoma and Seattle, 775 miles and then the distance between Seattle and the race shops mostly located near Indianapolis, 2,271 miles.

■ Bandimere Speedway in Denver is one of just four race tracks on which the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes that the Al-Anabi Racing Team has never won a race. The other three are in Epping, N.H., Ennis, Texas and St. Louis. One year ago in Denver, Langdon was the No. 5 qualifier. He defeated Antron Brown and Brandon Bernstein before losing to Spencer Massey in the semifinals.

■ Langdon has some excellent memories from competing at Bandimere Speedway. In 1997, he clinched the NHRA Junior Dragster national championship for the 14-year-old division. It was his first NHRA national championship, and now, he is the only alumnus of the Junior Dragster program that has also won the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series World Championship.

■ Langdon claimed his third No. 1 qualifier of the season two weeks ago in Norwalk, Ohio. In eliminations, he defeated Terry McMillen, Brittany Force and Troy Buff before losing to Antron Brown in the final round. He has advanced to at least the semifinals at six of the last nine races. He won his first race of the season and the ninth of his career last month in Bristol, Tenn. He has one win (Bristol), three final rounds (Charlotte, Topeka and Norwalk) and two semifinal appearances (Houston and Englishtown) in the last nine races.

■ With his June Bristol win, Langdon has qualified for the 2014 Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend. Langdon is the defending champion of the special event; last year, he defeated Brittany Force, Antron Brown and Steve Torrence on his way to winning the second-year event and its $100,000 prize. He went on to win the U.S. Nationals the next day.

■ After racing four consecutive weekends, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series enjoyed a much-deserved off weekend before beginning the three-race Western Swing this week. What did Langdon do on his only off weekend in an eight-week stretch? He raced of course. Langdon won the Tenn-Tuck bracket race in Bowling Green, Ky. on Friday, July 11. It was his first race in his brand new Huntsville Engine dragster. The Tenn-Tuck win was Langdon’s first since 2009.

■ Langdon has been a solid qualifier this season; he has qualified in the top-four positions at eight of the 13 races; his average qualifying position in 2014 is 4.92. He has three No. 1 qualifiers this season and 16 in his career. He was an excellent qualifier last year when his average qualifying position was 3.75.

■ Langdon and his teammate Khalid alBalooshi have raced each other eight times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in five of the eight meetings, the winner has gone on to win the race. Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 6-2.
Year Winner Loser Location Round Winner's Result

2012 Langdon alBalooshi Sonoma First Second
2012 alBalooshi Langdon Reading Semifinals Win
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Pomona1 Semifinals Win
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Houston Semifinals Final Round
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Englishtown Finals Win
2014 alBalooshi Langdon Pomona1 Semifinals Win
2014 Langdon alBalooshi Las Vegas1 First Second
2014 Langdon alBalooshi Bristol First Win

■ Langdon is the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion for the first time in his career. The 2013 title was Langdon’s fourth NHRA National Championship. He won the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster National Championship in the 14 year old 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.

■ Last year’s NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last was the third in the last four seasons for the Al-Anabi Racing Team. Larry Dixon won in 2010, and Del Worsham won in 2011. When Langdon won the title 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, Dixon and 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 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, fourth and fifth-quickest elapsed times in NHRA history.

■ Including former Al-Anabi drivers Larry Dixon and Del Worsham, the Al-Anabi Racing Team won 39 races and three World Championships in its first five seasons (2009 -’13) for an average of 7.8 wins a season or nearly a third of the races. Including the 2014 season, the Al-Anabi Racing Team has now won 41 races.

Year Driver Wins Driver Wins Team Wins Season Result

2014 Langdon 1 alBalooshi 1 2
2013 Langdon 7 alBalooshi 1 8 Langdon Championship
2012 Langdon 1 alBalooshi 1 2 Langdon 4th; alBalooshi 11th
2011 Worsham 8 (TF) Dixon 2 10 Worsham Championship
2010 Dixon 12 Worsham 0(FC) 12 Dixon Championship
2009 Dixon 5 Worsham 2(FC) 7 Dixon 2nd; Worsham 7th

■ 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 NHRA 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-year old division making him a three-time NHRA national series champion.

Langdon prior to Denver:

“I always enjoy the “Western Swing.” It’s nice to head out west and go to Denver. I love going to Bandimere Speedway. I have a lot of good history and a lot of good memories there winning the NHRA Junior Dragster national championship there 17 years ago. Then to head out to Somona is always great because it’s one of my favorite race tracks on the Mello Yello tour. I always have a lot of family and friends at Sonoma (Calif.), and there’s just a lot of history about the Western Swing. We’re excited to go out there. Our race car is getting back to running well, and hopefully we can end up with a sweep.

“The Al-Anabi car is a top-five car at all times. We have a car that is close to being able to compete for the Mello Yello championship. We have a car that’s definitely capable of winning; we’re just fine tuning a couple of areas. I know that as soon as we get these little things fine-tuned on the car, the Al-Anabi car will be back to running how it was last year in the Countdown. (Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.)

“Denver is tough because you have to change everything to race there because of the altitude. You have a whole different clutch setup, your motor is completely different, how the car works is completely different because you are racing on top of a mountain, and the air is so thin. You have to be able to make horse power despite the altitude, and I think that’s something the guys have been working on. The Al-Anabi team took this last week off to do some research to get the motors prepared for Denver. We have to get everything right so we can start off on the right foot hopefully from the first qualifying run. We ran well there last year; we just lost a great race to Spencer Massey in the semifinals. We know the Al-Anabi car can run up there on the mountain; we just have to get it all put together.

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

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
2014 wins/final rounds: 1/2 (.500)
Career wins/final rounds: 3/6 (.500)
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)

■ Third-year Top Fuel driver Khalid alBalooshi enters the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in eighth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails seventh-place Brittany Force by 38 points and leads ninth-place Richie Crampton by 26 points.

■ Bandimere Speedway is one of four race tracks on which the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes that the Al-Anabi Racing Team has never won a race. The other three are in Epping, New Hampshire, Ennis, Texas and St. Louis. One year ago in Denver, alBalooshi was the No. 4 qualifier, but the No. 13 qualifier, Brandon Bernstein, upset him in the first round of eliminations.

■ AlBalooshi, the first Middle East native to compete in a major United States Motorsports Series, has a win, a runner-up finish and a semifinal appearance this season. In his two previous Top Fuel seasons, he finished 13th in his 2012 rookie season and eighth last year.

■ With his season-opening win at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in February, alBalooshi 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.

■ AlBalooshi and his teammate Shawn Langdon have raced each other eight times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in five of the eight meetings, the winner has gone on to win the race. Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 6-2.
Year Winner Loser Location Round Winner's Result

2012 Langdon alBalooshi Sonoma First Second
2012 alBalooshi Langdon Reading Semifinals Win
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Pomona1 Semifinals Win
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Houston Semifinals Final Round
2013 Langdon alBalooshi Englishtown Finals Win
2014 alBalooshi


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