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2014 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Seattle NHRA Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jul 30, 2014 - 06:22 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: The Al-Anabi Racing Team - Seattle 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
2014 wins/final rounds: 1/5 (.200)
Career wins/final rounds: 9/23 (.391)
2014 No. 1 qualifiers: 3
Career No. 1 qualifiers: 16
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)

 

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■ Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon enters the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals in third place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Antron Brown by 112 points and leads fourth-place Tony Schumacher by 154 points.

■ When he reached the semifinals at Sonoma Raceway last weekend, Langdon clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs. After debuting a new car on Friday of last week, Langdon was the No. 10 qualifier, but in eliminations, the car came to life. Langdon defeated J.R Todd, points leader Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher before losing to his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, in the finals.

■ Langdon has advanced to at least the semifinals at seven of the last 11 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), four final rounds (Charlotte, Topeka, Norwalk and Sonoma) and two semifinal appearances (Houston and Englishtown) in the last 11 races.

■ Langdon enters this weekend’s race in Seattle atop ESPN Analyst Mike Dunn’s “power rankings.” The Al-Anabi Team won at Pacific Raceways in 2011 with driver Del Worsham. One year ago in Seattle, Langdon was the No. 1 qualifier; he defeated Troy Buff and Steve Torrence before losing to Morgan Lucas in the semifinals.

■ On Tuesday, Aug. 5, Langdon will be in St. Louis to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Tuesday-night Major League Baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to the game, Langdon will visit with some St. Louis media outlets to talk about the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in late September. Langdon was an accomplished baseball player in high school and turned down a chance to play college baseball when he decided to pursue a Motorsports career. Throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game is a life-long dream.

■ Langdon has been a solid qualifier this season; he has qualified in the top-five positions at nine of the 15 races; his average qualifying position in 2014 is 5.27. 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.


■ With his June Bristol win, Langdon 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.

■ The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals is the last event of 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.

■ Langdon and his teammate Khalid alBalooshi have raced each other nine times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in six of the nine meetings, the winner has gone on to win the race. Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 6-3.

■ 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 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 42 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 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 Seattle:
“The Sonoma race weekend was great for the Al-Anabi team. That (All Al-Anabi) final round was really a win-win situation. We were looking to get a win for the silver team; I wanted to get into the winner’s circle to share it with my Dad after he won earlier in the day, but it just wasn’t meant to be. In the grand scheme of things, everything worked out how it was supposed to. The gold team did a great job and got the win. We definitely have both these Al-Anabi cars turned around. This is about the time we started getting hot last year so it’s the perfect time to get these two cars turned around to get ready for the Countdown (Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs).

“I think you can call one good race a turn-a-round. When we won in Bristol in June, we were able to get the win, but we were just making runs down the track and happened to race the right people at the right time. We did have a little bit of that Sunday in Sonoma, but we were able to make some pretty strong runs on Sunday in the heat. We struggled a little bit smoking the tires down track, and that’s what happened in the final. When you smoke the tires early in the run, you might need to make some major changes, but when you smoke the tires a little down track, that’s just a minor adjustment.

“It’s great to be in Countdown, but we still need to track down Doug Kalitta and try to get that No. 1 seed for the playoffs. It will be very difficult to do that with just three races left in the regular season, but I wouldn’t say anything is out of the question. We need to average gaining 50 points a race so that won’t be easy, but it’s doable. We have lost out on a lot of qualifying bonus points this season so collecting those would help a lot.

“I am really excited to throw out the first pitch in St. Louis next week. I played baseball for my entire childhood. I played in so many games from little league all the way through high school, and I’ve always wanted to throw out a first pitch at a Major League Baseball game. I’m looking forward to getting out on the field next Tuesday, and I hope we can get some of those St. Louis Cardinals fans out to Gateway Motorsports Park in late September to check out some NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing. I’m already working on getting warmed up for it!”

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: 2/3 (.667)
Career wins/final rounds: 4/7 (.571)
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 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals in eighth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails seventh-place Brittany Force by 23 points and leads ninth-place Richie Crampton by 49 points.

■ AlBalooshi won the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals last weekend in Sonoma, Calif. It was his second win of the season and the fourth of his career. He was the No. 8 qualifier, but on Sunday, the gold Al-Anabi car was stellar. He defeated Billy Torrence, Clay Millican, Richie Crampton and his teammate, Shawn Langdon, on his way to the winner’s circle. The win was extra special because Sunday was his 35th birthday. The 2014 season marks the first time that alBalooshi has recorded multiple Top Fuel wins in the same season.

■ AlBalooshi has swept the NHRA races in California so far this season. He won the season-opening NHRA Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. in February and last weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Last season, alBalooshi’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, swept all three California races winning the Circle K Winternationals, the Sonoma Nationals and the season ending NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. So the Al-Anabi Racing Team has won the last five NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in the state of California.

■ The Al-Anabi Team won at Pacific Raceways in 2011 with driver Del Worsham. One year ago in Seattle, alBalooshi was the No. 4 qualifier; he defeated Brittany Force before losing to Morgan Lucas in the quarterfinals.

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

■ 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 nine times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in six of the nine meetings, the winner has gone on to win the race. Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 6-3.


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