Al Balooshi, Langdon suffer double first-round exits at NHRA Gatornationals
GAINESVILLE, Florida // The Qatar Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team, the defending champions, suffered a rare double first-round loss at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday.
It was a disappointing weekend for the UAE’s Khalid Al Balooshi and No 1 qualifier Shawn Langdon in the third of 24 races that make up America’s 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.
Al Balooshi, who won the season-opening Circle K Winternationals in California last month, was the No 9 qualifier and raced good friend Steve Torrence in the first round.
Al Balooshi made a solid pass, 3.833 seconds at nearly 321 mph, but Torrence was a bit quicker and turned on the win light in his lane ending the day for Al Balooshi.
With the first-round loss, Al Balooshi dropped two spots to fourth place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.
“At the start week, the track was tricky for lots of people, and a lot of the teams were struggling,” he said. “The Al Anabi Team made some good runs this weekend, but today, maybe we missed the something in the tune-up. I am sure we will be fine for the next race, and I thank everyone on our team for his hard work.”
2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Langdon was the No 1 qualifier, his first top spot of the season and the 14th of his career.
In the first round, the silver Al Anabi car launched well but smoked the tires early in the run allowing veteran driver JR Todd, who made an excellent run, to cruise to victory.
“The Al Anabi car was strong through qualifying, but in the first round today, it just didn’t work out,” Langdon said. “We overpowered the race track a little bit, but we really felt like it was going to be a safe run. In looking at the data, we don’t see anything wrong with the car so we aren’t quite sure yet why it smoked the tires. We’re not really all that concerned about the points at this part of the season, but we have to start going rounds on Sunday. Eventually, we’ll get a couple of wins, and we’ll be right back where we need to be.”
The Al Anabi Racing team will be back in action March 28-30, 2014 at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.
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Published: March 17, 2014 04:00 AM