x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Drag racing: Khalid Al Balooshi hungry for more on Western Swing

The Emirati's win in Ohio last fortnight was his first this year in what is only his second season of racing for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing.

Khalid Al Balooshi won his first race of the season at Ohio two weeks back. Courtesy Gary Nastase
Khalid Al Balooshi won his first race of the season at Ohio two weeks back. Courtesy Gary Nastase

Khalid Al Balooshi is looking to build on his second career Top Fuel drag racing victory as the season enters its annual Western Swing - three races on consecutive weekends: Denver, Colorado; Sonoma, California; Seattle, Washington.

The Emirati's win in Ohio two weekends past was his first this season in what is only his second season racing for the Qatar Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel team.

"Winning the race at Norwalk was very good for our team," Al Balooshi said. "We have been waiting for this day since we won the race last year. The win was good, but we have more work to do. This week, we go back to Denver where I won my first Top Fuel round. It will be good to be back there.

"Our team is stronger than it was last year, and now we are getting more points. We have to keep working to make our team better and better and better.

"I said before the season to watch our team this year because we were going to do something special. The win in Norwalk was special, but now we want to do something special again soon."

With that win, Al Balooshi qualified for the Traxxas Nitro Shootout at Indianapolis in September, a special event for race winners.

Al Balooshi is sixth in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings, just behind Antron Brown in fifth and the fourth-placed Doug Kalitta.

Teammate Shawn Langdon is locked in a thrilling battle with Tony Schumacher at the top of the standings and leads Schumacher by just a single point, going into the Western Swing.

Bandimere Speedway, site of this weekend's event which culminates tomorrow, is one of only four race tracks on which the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races at that the Al Anabi Racing Team has not yet won a race.

"Denver is tough because the air is so thin up there," Langdon said.

"They call it the Mile-High Nationals because we're racing more than a mile above sea level. You basically go to Denver with a whole different combination and change everything in your set-up for this one particular race.

"There's no other place we go where we can even test for conditions like these at this one particular race.

"We go there, look back at notes from the previous years for things we've learnt in the past and try to improve our tune-up.

"You just change so many things that it's very difficult to be able to go there and have a good handle on it from the first run. I have all the confidence in the world in the Al Anabi team, and I know we can win the race this weekend."

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