Drag racer Khalid Al Balooshi has become the first driver from the Middle East to win on the USA's popular NHRA Full Throttle series after recording victory in just his 22nd race in the highest rated Top Fuel class.
The driver, from Dubai, beat his own teammate Shawn Langdon and number two-ranked driver Spencer Massey on his way to the final at the Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania last night.
Al Balooshi, who drives for the Qatar Al-Anabi team owned by His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani, clocked up a 3.735-second pass driving at more than 327mph to defeat his teammate and set-up a final encounter with competition points leader Antron Brown.
"When I beat Shawn in the semifinals, I was sad for him, but I was happy to be going to the final round," he said afterwards.
"I knew it would be very tough against Antron, but I thought 'maybe today is our day.' And it was. I am very happy for everyone on our team.
"I am glad we could win this race for our team, but I am also very happy to win for Sheikh Khalid for all he has done for me and for giving me this opportunity."
Although Al Balooshi has three Pro Mod Championships and 158 race wins in various classes under his belt, he had raced just 21 times in the sport's highest division before his victory at the rain-delayed event.
The driver's route to the final saw him finally gain revenge on Massey - who had beaten him in their four previous encounters - and clock up the fastest speed of his career with a 328.46mph drive against Ike Maier in the second round.
Al Balooshi is the first Middle Eastern driver and only the third driver from outside North America to win a Full Throttle Series race, joining Australian David Grubnic and Kenji Okazaki from Japan.
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