Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon, near lane, completes his semi-final win against J.R. Todd to advance to the final round of eliminations Sunday in Topeka, Kansas.
They may not have won the race, but Shawn Langdon and the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel Team, the three-time and defending World Championship team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani, made an excellent effort at the 26th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals yesterday, the eighth of 24 races that make up America’s 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season. With the final-round effort, Langdon and his silver Al Anabi team appear to have returned to the form that carried them to the 2013 World Championship.
Langdon, the defending champion of the NHRA Kansas Nationals, was a man on a mission Sunday marching through the first three rounds like a man destined for victory. He dispatched Pat Dakin, Doug Kalitta and J R Todd on his way to the final round. The silver Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel car was flawless through the first three rounds, but in the finals, the dominant dragster smoked the tires in the middle of the run allowing Spencer Massey to cruise to the finish line for his second win in as many races. Despite his second final-round appearance in four races, Langdon remains fourth in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings, but he is now just 145 points behind class leader Doug Kalitta.
“We were just trying to make another good run in the final like we did in the other three rounds,” Langdon said. “We weren’t trying to change too much, but the sun came out and made the track a little bit warmer than it had been. The Al Anabi car almost made it, but we smoked the tires.
“At the end of the day, we have our problems figured out, and we made some very good runs this weekend. We have our car back to how it was last year where it made great runs just about any time and responded to our changes. We’ll just go to Englishtown next weekend and get out first win of the season there.”
Khalid al-Balooshi faced 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion Antron Brown in the first round. The third-year Top Fuel driver made an excellent first-round pass and dispatched the former champion easily. In the second round, however, he faced No 1 qualifier Brittany Force who made a solid run, but al-Balooshi’s gold Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel car smoked the tires early in the run giving Force an easy victory. Despite the quarter-final loss, al-Balooshi remains sixth in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.
“Our team made a very good run in the first round to beat Antron, and we were feeling good about the day,” al-Balooshi said. “Our hot rod was very good. In the second round against Brittany, I think we were going to do something special, but the car smoked the tires. Brittany won the race. Our team made some very good runs this week, and I think everything will be OK when we get to New Jersey next weekend.”
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