For the first time in his career, Al-Anabi Racing driver Shawn Langdon goes into an event as the NHRA Top Fuel points leader, leading multi-time champ Tony Schumacher by 10 points following his victory at the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California last weekend. Langdon and his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, head to Chandler, Arizona – near Phoenix – for this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals, Friday through Sunday, February 22nd through 24th, at Firebird International Raceway.
“It’s great to lead the Top Fuel point standings; I’ve never been in this position before, but it definitely feels good to be here,” said Langdon. “I know it’s very early in the season and that we have 23 more races, but it’s a great way to start the season. Sheikh Khalid (team owner His Excellency Sheikh Khalid Al Thani) and Alan (team manager Alan Johnson) built this race team to win races and championships, and their record was pretty impressive before I started with the team last year. We’ve started the season with both Al-Anabi cars running well, and I think we are starting to get a little taste of the fruits of our labors from last season and during the off season. If we can keep improving our Al-Anabi car through the season, I think we’ll have a chance to lead the points after our next race at Pomona.”
Last year at FIR, Langdon won the first of five No. 1 qualifiers for the season, racing his way to the semi-finals. The former Junior Dragster champ (1997 – 14-under division) and two-time Super Comp champ (2007 and 2008) won his first Wally at Charlotte in September after qualifying for the Countdown to the Championship, finishing fourth in final points.
This year, Langdon has a new title in addition to driver: interim general manager. Former GM Chad Head left the team to join his father’s construction business and take over as the Head Racing Funny Car driver, and Langdon has stepped up to help with day-to-day operations at the shop – his focus on race weekends, however, is strictly on his dragster.
alBalooshi sits third in points after losing to Langdon in the semi-finals at Pomona. “What we did and the way our Al-Anabi team raced on Sunday in California is what I thought we would do, and everybody on our team feels the same way,” said alBalooshi. “It was not a surprise. Our team is much better than it was last year, and I think we will have a very good year. Being third in points feels good; I know that last week was only one race, but I am feeling good about our crew chief, every person who works on our team and our season. We are all looking forward to racing in Phoenix, and we hope we can make Sheikh Khalid proud of us again this weekend.”
alBalooshi also won his first Top Fuel Wally late last season, picking up the win at Reading in October. The 2011 NHRA Pro Mod champ improved as the season went on last year: after not winning a single round during the season’s first 12 races, he advanced to at least the second round of eliminations in 10 of the final 11 races, including nine straight to end the season.
Learn more about Al-Anabi Racing at www.alanabiracing.com.
Follow this weekend’s action at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by Al-Anabi Racing.
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