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10-27-13alanabiracingLAS VEGAS – – The Qatar Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team, the two-time World Championship team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, had a very productive weekend in Las Vegas and inched closer to clinching it’s third NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship in the last five years.  Silver Al-Anabi driver Shawn Langdon advanced to the semifinals at the just-completed Toyota NHRA Nationals, the fifth of six races that comprise the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs and the 23rd of 24 races that make up America’s 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.

With his closest World Championship competitors, Doug Kalitta and Spencer Massey,  losing in the first round of eliminations, Langdon had a chance to clinch his first World Championship today, and most of the people onsite expected him to do just that.  He had been stellar all weekend making four dazzling qualifying runs to blast to his seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 13th of his career.  In the first two rounds of eliminations, Langdon’s was by far the quickest and fastest car on the property.  In the first round of eliminations, Langdon’s 3.761-second pass at 327.98 mph set track records for both elapsed time and speed.

In the second round, Langdon made a similar, dominating  run and seemed destined to win the race and clinch the championship today, but as the day went on, the track temperature increased making conditions a bit more difficult.  In the semifinal match up with Clay Millican, Langdon was ahead when the tires on the silver Al-Anabi dragster lost traction allowing Millican to win the round.  2012 World Champion Antron Brown won the race and moved into second place in points, but he trails Langdon by 102 points entering the season’s final race. Langdon and the Qatar Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel team will have to wait two weeks for another chance to wrap up the World Championship.

“The Al-Anabi team did a great job preparing the car for this weekend in Las Vegas,” Langdon said.  “We had a very strong car for qualifying and on race day, but we happened to smoke the tires in the semifinals.  We were just trying to make a similar run to what we had been doing in the earlier rounds, but the track just warmed up a little bit and got us.  We still have a good lead heading into the last race of the season so we are excited to get to Pomona in two weeks to finish the season.  We are all very happy to be so close to winning the third World Championship for Sheikh Khalid”

Gold Al-Anabi driver Khalid alBalooshi was the No. 14 qualifier at the Toyota NHRA Nationals and faced seven-time NHRA World Champion Tony Schumacher in the first round.  AlBalooshi made an excellent run in the first round of eliminations – a 3.849-second effort at 318.92 mph – it was his best pass of the weekend, but it was not enough to take out the seven-time champion.  Schumacher won the race by .0536 seconds and advanced.  AlBalooshi remains eighth in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings with one race remaining in the season.

“Our team made a very good run in the first round today, but Tony ran a little bit better and won the round,” alBalooshi said.  “I am proud of everybody on our Al-Anabi team, and I thank them for their hard work.  I am happy for Shawn for getting closer to the championship.  I think our team will have a better race when we get to Pomona.  I thank Sheikh Khalid for giving me this opportunity”

The Al-Anabi Racing team will be back in action Nov. 7-10 at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif, the last of six races that comprise the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs.  For additional information, please visit www.nhra.com.  For additional information on the Al-Anabi Racing Team, please visit www.alanabiracing.com.

The Al-Anabi Racing Team operates out of multiple locations in both the United States and Qatar.  In the United States, the Brownsburg, Ind. based operation is a two-car NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series team that is managed by Alan Johnson Racing.  Sheikh Khalid’s initiative has created increased international awareness of the State of Qatar while highlighting the nation’s international sports outreach. Alan Johnson is a 14-time NHRA champion in various capacities including crew chief, team owner and team manager.  For additional information on the Al-Anabi Racing Team, team manager Alan Johnson or drivers Khalid alBalooshi or Shawn Langdon, please visit www.alanabiracing.com.


About Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian American columnist. Named "Best Ethnic American Columnist" for 2006/07 by the New America Media. He is the recipient of four Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Visit his website at www.TheDailyHookah.com. Find his podcasts on iTunes and on Vimeo.

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