2011 NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series champion Khalid Al Balooshi today was named as Del Worsham’s replacement in the Al-Anabi Racing Gold dragster. Balooshi began his new role as the driver of the Alan Johnson-led team, along with newly-named pilot Shawn Langdon, during a test session this week at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida.
Prior to testing this week, Baloohsi had never driven a Top Fuel Dragster. While there, Balooshi earned his Top Fuel license, making a number of runs to varying distances, culminating in a great 3.86-second, 319 MPH blast to the 1,000 foot clocks.
“I like driving the Top Fuel car and learning what is going on with the car step-by-step. The car is perfect. Alan and all of the crew are taking good care of me; they are paying close attention to where I need help. They are making sure I am comfortable in the car and checking on every detail, and that is very important to me. I appreciate everyone doing this for us. Going from 3,000 horsepower in Pro Mod up to 8,000 horsepower in Top Fuel is a big jump. In Top Fuel, you go faster and faster. It is a big difference. It is much faster from start to finish line than Pro Mod; the feeling is just so much faster. 3.86 at 319 mph is not bad; it is very good. I would like to thank Sheik Khalid and Alan Johnson for giving me this opportunity.”
In addition to the NHRA Pro Modified crown, the 32-year old Balooshi also won the 2011 Arabian Drag Racing League Pro Mod Championship, winning five of the seven events contested in Qatar. He also finished third in the American Drag Racing League Pro Nitrous points standings. In all, the Dubai UAE native has won 158 races in Pro Nitrous, Pro Modified, Outlaw, and Super Street classes in his career.
“Khalid alBalooshi has been a star within the Al-Anabi Racing organization for many years,” Alan Johnson Racing team owner and Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson said. “We at Alan Johnson Racing welcome him to our Top Fuel team with great excitement. Balooshi is a true competitor that has made the commitment to race Top Fuel and compete at the level of excellence we expect at Al-Anabi and AJR. Though Balooshi is a Top Fuel rookie, he has extensive drag racing experience, and we look forward to watching him learn to compete at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series level.
“When we started this team, we said that one of our goals was to promote international drag racing awareness, specifically in the nation of Qatar. Now we have driver who has won a championship in Qatar competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Balooshi driving the Al-Anabi Top Fuel car will further that goal while galvanizing the reality that drag racing is becoming an international motorsport that appeals to many different cultures throughout the world.”
Less than 24 hours after announcing their mutual split with veteran driver Larry Dixon, Al-Anabi Racing has unveiled Shawn Langdon as the newest member of the Alan Johnson-led team and driver of the Al-Anabi Silver dragster that won the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship.
“This is probably one of the biggest moments of my life and the biggest moments of my racing career,” Langdon said. “To get a phone call from Alan Johnson is probably one of the best phone calls you’ll ever get, but it’s a little intimidating, too. To get a call from the guy that runs such a high- caliber team, that’s one of the best tuners in the sport and that’s won 10 Top Fuel championships is a very big honor. I’ll be proud to fly the maroon colors for the country of Qatar, and I want to thank Sheik Khalid(Al-Anabi Racing team owner Sheik Khalid al Thani), Alan Johnson and everyone at Al-Anabi Racing for the opportunity. Hopefully, we can keep that No. 1 on one of the Al-Anabi cars for years to come.”
The 29-year old Langdon spent three seasons driving for Morgan Lucas Racing, beginning with his rookie season in Top Fuel in 2009. In 69 career starts on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, he has four final round appearances, but has yet to win his first race. He closed the season ninths in 2011, a career-high fifth in 2010, and ninth in 2009. An accomplished sportsman standout who still regularly competes on the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Langdon won impressive back-to-back Super Comp titles in 2007 and 2008.
“All of us at Al-Anabi Racing and Alan Johnson Racing are excited to welcome Shawn to our team,” Alan Johnson Racing owner and Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson said. “We look forward to sharing with Shawn the elements of our organization that have helped us win races and championships. Shawn’s dedication to driving race cars at the highest level will be a great addition to the team of crew members that will prepare his car with that same enthusiasm. Shawn has yet to win a Top Fuel race, but we are confident if we provide him with a championship-caliber car he will find a way to win.”
Al-Anabi Racing will once again field a pair of Top Fuel Dragsters on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, and with 2011 champion Del Worsham’s departure last month, the team is still left with one seat to fill prior to the beginning of testing in January.