Beginning a new chapter in his storied drag racing career, Frank “Ace” Manzo, widely considered the most prolific Sportsman racer in the history of the National Hot Rod Association, will debut a brand new Al-Anabi Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo Top Alcohol Funny Car at this weekend’s Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, driving for Al-Anabi Racing team owner Sheikh Khalid Al Thani.
With nearly 200 national event and divisional wins to his credit, Manzo would like nothing more than to duplicate his 2009 performance in the NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman Drag Racing Series that saw the veteran driver from Morganville, New Jersey rack up five national and five divisional event wins – a perfect season by all accounts – to clinch his 13th Top Alcohol Funny Car championship more than two months before the season had even ended. Doing so, however, will be a tough task.
“Of course, we would like nothing more than to see the same level of success this year as we have in years past,” said Manzo, checking in from the pits of Gainesville Raceway. “It’s no easy task, though. There are a lot of great teams out here in this Top Alcohol Funny Car category and it’s going to be a challenge from the very beginning, but we really wouldn’t have it any other way. The competition, the challenge – that’s what motivates me.”
For a driver who has seen the degree of on-track success that Manzo has over the course of his drag racing career, one that spans more than three decades, it surely isn’t a desire to collect trophies that has driven him to this point.
“I think the bottom line is that I love to do this,” Manzo said. “All my life I’ve been inside a race car and while I’m thankful for all that we’ve achieved, I’ve never been satisfied. Each year I set the bar a little higher, challenge myself a little bit more.”
Never one to look back and bask in the glory of his accomplishments, Manzo maintains a sharp focus on the challenges that lie ahead.
“The points system works the same every year; we all start off at zero. All you can say is, ‘Here we go again’ and hope to do well. Sure, it’s going to be bumpy at times, but we’ll go out there and do the best we can to win every round of racing we enter into.”
Beyond the historical significance of a potential 14th championship season, a great deal of anticipation stems from Manzo’s first event with the Al-Anabi Racing Group.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to race under the Al-Anabi banner for Sheikh Khalid and the State of Qatar and represent them in the Top Alcohol Funny Car division,” said Manzo. “We’ve spent the last few days shaking down our brand new Murf McKinney race car at West Palm Beach International Raceway here in Florida, made a few runs and did fairly well. We’d like nothing more than to go out and earn a win for Sheikh Khalid and send a trophy to him in Qatar.”
The Al-Anabi Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team will hit the track tomorrow, Friday, March 12th, starting with the opening two rounds of qualifying for the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, with a final session slated for Saturday afternoon and Round 1 of eliminations that evening. Final eliminations will get underway on Sunday the 14th at 11:00 AM.
For more information on the Al-Anabi Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team and Al-Anabi Racing, log onto www.qrczone.com