Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Al-Anabi Racing Team Pre-event Notes

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster:

Langdon prior to Englishtown:
“By the numbers the cars have been displaying, with what alBalooshi did in Topeka and with our car making it down the track all four times in qualifying, I really feel both Al-Anabi teams are headed in the right direction.  I think Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) and the crew chiefs are getting a better handle on things. We just caught some tricky conditions on Sunday in Topeka and overpowered the track a little bit, but the early numbers showed that we would have run as quick as anybody else out there.  So the Al-Anabi Team is definitely showing signs of improvement which is good heading into a weekend sponsored by Toyota, one of our biggest sponsors.  We’re definitely looking to get one of the Al-Anabi cars in the winner’s circle this weekend; that would be great for the Al-Anabi team, for Sheikh Khalid and for Toyota as well. 
“We go into every race with the intention of winning; it’s just a matter of doing it.  Every race we go to, we’re constantly learning.  That’s the biggest thing.  If we come out of a race weekend scratching our heads, we probably didn’t learn much.  But when we come out of a weekend, look at the information and know why the car did what it did, that’s good.  It’s about learning for the next race and gathering more data from both cars so that when we enter the Countdown (Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs) in September, we know that we have two good-running cars.”  

■ Shawn Langdon enters the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals in seventh place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings.  He trails sixth place Doug Kalitta by 32 points and leads eighth-place David Grubnic by 15 points.

Langdon was the No. 4 qualifier at the Dollar General Nationals in Topeka, Kan.  Despite another excellent qualifying effort, Langdon lost to Spencer Massey in the first round of eliminations; it was Langdon’s fourth first-round loss of the season.

■ Langdon has been a solid qualifier so far this season; he has one No. 1 qualifier and has qualified in the top five at six of the eight races this season.  His average qualifying position this season is 4.75. 

■ The Al-Anabi Racing winless streak has now grown to eight races; the longest ever.  The team endured four-race winless streaks twice in 2009 and twice in 2011, but until now, the team had never gone more than four races without a victory showing the remarkable consistency the Al-Anabi team has exhibited since it was created in 2009.  

■ One year ago at Englishtown, Langdon was the No. 7 qualifier in his Morgan Lucas Racing dragster, and he lost to teammate Morgan Lucas in the first round of eliminations. The Al-Anabi Top Fuel cars qualified first and fourth last year with one car advancing to the finals and one to the semifinals.

■ Langdon is still in search of his first Top Fuel victory.  He has competed in four career final rounds, but has yet to turn on a final-round win light.  Last season, he reached the final round of eliminations at the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif. and the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.

■ Langdon has qualified for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs in each of his three previous seasons driving a Top Fuel car.  He finished ninth in the final NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings last season after finishing fifth in 2010, his career best.  In his rookie season, he finished ninth in the season standings.

 Langdon joined the Al-Anabi Racing team prior to the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle 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. 

Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster: 

AlBalooshi prior to Englishtown: 
“I am excited about this race this weekend.  I’m doing a little better but the car is doing a lot better.  Everything is working well together now.  I am doing a little bit better than before, but I feel that everything is coming together now.  I think Englishtown will be our best showing yet, and our team will be trying to do well for Toyota this week.  I think the Al-Anabi cars will be two of the better cars this weekend.  I am more excited to get this race than any other race so far.  Everybody on the team is doing his job between the crew chief, the crew, Alan Johnson…everybody.  The team is hungry for a trophy.  We are hungry to get to the winner’s circle for Sheikh Khalid, for Toyota and for ourselves.” 

■          Khalid alBalooshi enters the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals in 13th place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails 12th-place Terry McMillen by 14 points and leads 14th-place Hillary Will by 146 points.  AlBalooshi is competing for the 2012 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award which recognizes NHRA’s Rookie of the Year.

■          AlBalooshi was the No. 11 qualifier two weeks ago in Topeka, Kan.   AlBalooshi made by far the best run of his eight-race Top Fuel career in the first round of eliminations against Morgan Lucas.  AlBalooshi left the starting line first and set career-best marks for elapsed time and speed with a 3.768-second pass at 326.56 mph.  However, Lucas ran the third-quickest run in NHRA history and the quickest of the weekend with a 3.745-second pass at 328.22 to win the round. 

■          Eight races into his rookie Top Fuel campaign, alBalooshi has made 73 passes in his new car including pre-season and in-season testing.  For perspective, the driver alBalooshi replaced, 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel world champion Del Worsham, finished last season with 815 rounds of NHRA competition. Worsham competed in 456 NHRA national events as a driver.  If Worsham had four rounds of qualifying at each of those events, he would have made 1,824 qualifying runs in a Nitro car.  Add his 815 eliminations rounds, and Worsham finished his driving career with approximately 2,639 runs.  AlBalooshi is up to 73 total passes - he has a long way to go to catch up with the driver he replaced at Al-Anabi Racing.  

■          AlBalooshi chose the No. 99 for the Al-Anabi Racing gold dragster as a tribute to Al-Anabi Racing team owner His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani because nine is Sheikh Khalid’s favorite number.  Since alBalooshi’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, finished ninth in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings last season, the Al-Anabi silver car also runs Sheikh Khalid’s favorite number.

■          AlBalooshi 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 Get Screened America 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. 

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