Al Balooshi and Langdon fall short at NHRA quarter-finals in Arizona
CHANDLER, Arizona // A day that began with great promise ended abruptly for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team, the three-time and defending World Championship team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani.
Both Khalid Al Balooshi of Dubai, who entered the event as the points leader, and 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon lost in the quarterfinals at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals on Sunday.
It was the second of 24 races that make up America’s 2014 NHRA Drag Racing season.
Al Balooshi made a dazzling run in the first round taking out Leah Pritchett with a 3.778-second pass at more than 325 mph. In the second round, he faced Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta in a rematch of the final round of eliminations in California two weeks ago.
Just like last time, both cars smoked the tires early in the run, but this time, it was Kalitta’s car that hooked up to the race track first and reached the finish line a tenth of a second sooner than Al Balooshi.
With the quarterfinal loss, Al Balooshi dropped one spot to second place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.
“Our team made a very good run in the first round,” Al Balooshi said. “Everyone on our Al-Anabi crew did a very good job, but in the second round, the car smoked the tires for some reason; we lost the race.
“We wanted to win and keep the points lead, but we dropped to second place. I know our team will be ready to race when get to Florida next month. I thank everyone on our team for his hard work.”
Langdon also made a brilliant run in the first round with a fantastic 3.754-second effort – his best run of the weekend – to defeat Clay Millican.
In the second round, however, Langdon was leading 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion Antron Brown when the engine on the silver Al-Anabi dragster began having problems allowing Brown to get the round win.
With his quarterfinal loss, Langdon drops two spots to seventh place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings. He trails the two drivers tied for fifth place, Spencer Massey and Brittany Force, by three points and leads eighth-place Tony Schumacher by 26 points. He is 67 points out of first place.
“The Al Anabi team made good run first round; we were trying to keep the same pace in the second round, but the track heated up a little bit,” Langdon said.
“We missed something in the setup and hurt the engine a little. We probably would have made another good run if the engine hadn’t had problems.
“It’s not a huge disappointment, though, because we still have a great car. We just missed the setup a little bit in that second round. We’ll get ‘em in Gainesville.”
The Al Anabi Racing team will be back in action March 14-16, 2014 at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.
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Published: February 24, 2014 04:00 AM