WHEN the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season began here in Pomona last February, Khalid al Balooshi was the No. 7 qualifier and lost in the first round of eliminations in his debut for the Qatar Al Anabi racing Top Fuel team, the two-time, defending NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel World Championship team.
Fast forward to today, and Balooshi has won a race, has a semifinal finish and is currently the No. 2 qualifier at the season’s final race, the 48th annual Automobile Club NHRA Finals. Qualifying resumes Saturday with eliminations set for Sunday.
Balooshi, who will finish the season in 11th place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings no matter what happens this weekend, ran a dazzling 3.781-second pass at 324.20 mph to claim the No. 2 qualifying position with two rounds of qualifying remaining.
Thursday’s first round of qualifying was cancelled due to persistent rain showers.
“I am very happy with our run today,” Balooshi said.
“Our Al Anabi car is making good runs, and we are happy that our hard work is paying off. We will try to get a little bit better in the two rounds we have left, and maybe we can be the No. 1 qualifier before we race on Sunday.” Al Anabi silver driver Shawn Langdon was on a brilliant pass before the clutch malfunctioned causing the car to smoke the tires. Langdon pedalled the car but could only post a 4.063-second pass at 289.45 mph. He is 14th with two rounds of qualifying remaining.
“The Al Anabi car was on a really good pass before we had that problem with the clutch,” Langdon said. “That tells us our tune-up was right for the conditions, and the good news is we have two chances to improve our position and ready to race for