Chris McGaha Comes Home to Race Dallas in Best Position Yet

September 17, 2014 by  
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Chris McGaha Comes Home to Race Dallas in Best Position Yet

ODESSA, Texas (September 17, 2014) – Chris McGaha is still relatively young in his career as an NHRA Pro Stock driver, but this season he emerged as a contender. Driving the Harlow Sammons Racing Chevrolet Camaro, McGaha will arrive at Texas Motorplex for this weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals secure in the top 10 in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship and looking to pick up points and work his way up for what is guaranteed to be his best finish ever in the ultra competitive category.

Returning to Dallas, a racetrack that the Odessa-native considers home, is always a high point on the schedule for McGaha and his crew, including father Lester McGaha, a veteran drag racer himself.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on this race,” admitted McGaha, who earned the first Pro Stock round win of his career at the facility in 2011, his debut season, with a first-round victory over Greg Anderson. “We want to win Dallas probably more than any other race on the schedule. If we made it to the final round here this weekend, heck, it would really mean a lot to us. I’ve joked that we could quit while we were ahead if we won here – of course we won’t, but it doesn’t get a whole lot better than a win in Texas for this team.”

Success in Dallas isn’t all that far-fetched for the group whose engines are built in McGaha’s own Southwest Performance & Machine race shop on the grounds of Harlow Sammons of Odessa. The engine shop is outfitted with top of the line machinery, and McGaha spends every moment possible within those four walls.

Driven to excel in a class that many find daunting, lifelong racer McGaha committed to a full season this year that has so far been marked with two No. 1 qualifier awards (Phoenix and the four-wide race in Charlotte this past spring). He raced to the semifinals in Las Vegas and Norwalk and secured his spot to race for the championship at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis for the first time in his career. McGaha’s best previous finish was No. 12 in 2012, when he competed in just 18 events.

“This class is all about performance, and this year we’ve had some shining moments in that area,” said McGaha, a former Competition Eliminator driver who got his start in NHRA’s Jr. Drag Racing League at the age of 13. “At this point, we just have to take it one run at a time, and we have to keep working on our performance – without that, you don’t stand a chance. We had high hopes coming into the Countdown, and after Charlotte we went right back to the shop to work on our program. Hopefully, Dallas will be a good race for us.”

CHRIS McGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS CHEVROLET CAMARO
Last event, Charlotte (Completion postponed to FallNationals qualifying): Qualified No. 11; lost in first round to Jason Line

         Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss 
2014 10th      19         0       0       2      4     12       2        0       8-18
CAREER       45         0       0       3      6     29       2        7      12-38
Best Time, Speed: 6.515 sec. (2013, Gainesville); 214.04 mph (2014, Gainesville)

NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Points updated through first round from Sept. 14 at Charlotte that will be completed at Dallas)
PRO STOCK
driver (wins)                                  points    behind
1. Jason Line (4)                          2,166     ——–
2. Erica Enders-Stevens (4)         2,130      -36
3. Jeg Coughlin (2)                       2,117      -49
4. Allen Johnson (4)                     2,104      -62
5. Dave Connolly (1)                    2,090      -76
6. Shane Gray (2)                        2,073      -93
7. V. Gaines                                 2,072      -94
8. Vincent Nobile (1)                    2,069      -97
9. Jonathan Gray                         2,055      -111
10. CHRIS McGAHA                   2,042      -124

Event Schedule (All times ET)
AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas
Friday: 2:15, 5:15 p.m., Pro Stock qualifying
Saturday: 11:15, 2:15 p.m., Pro Stock qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations

TELEVISED ON ESPN2 (Schedule as posted on NHRA.com 9/17)
9/21/2014 Qualifying           3:30 AM – 5:00 AM ET/12:30 AM – 2:00 AM PT
9/21/2014 Qualifying Re-Air          4:00 PM – 5:30 PM ET/1:00 PM – 2:30 PM PT
9/21/2014 Eliminations      8:30 PM – 11:30 PM ET/5:30 PM – 8:30 PM PT

K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE 
BONUS POINT STANDINGS 
Updated following final qualifying in Charlotte, 9/13/2014
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE:

1.  Shane Gray, 2,405
2.  Allen Johnson, 2,390
3.  Jason Line, 2,325
4.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,275
5.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,270
6.  Dave Connolly, 2,200
7.  Vincent Nobile, 2,165
8.  CHRIS McGAHA, 1,965
9.  Jonathan Gray, 1,840
10.  Greg Anderson, 1,760

The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a special race-within-a-race bonus program for the top Pro Stock drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The 2015 K&N Horsepower Challenge will be conducted at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motors Speedway in the spring. The race features a special elimination pairing with eight Pro Stock drivers in the field, including seven who accumulate the most points in qualifying during the 24-race Challenge series and one driver who is selected to the starting lineup for the event via a special fan vote. The winner of the K&N Horsepower Challenge will earn $50,000, and the runner-up will earn $10,000. The two semifinalists will earn $3,000 each, while the four first-round finishers will receive $2,500 each. In 2014, Gray Motorsports driver Dave Connolly won the fan vote and raced to the final round of the specialty competition.

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FUNNY CAR STAR ROBERT HIGHT WELCOMES ADDED PRESSURE THAT COMES AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS

September 17, 2014 by  
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robertpressurearticle-imgENNIS, Texas — Robert Hight enjoyed a tremendous 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season, winning five times and leading the points for an impressive 13-race stretch, the most in his career.

But as noteworthy as that is, Hight knows his Funny Car season will ultimately be determined on how he performs in his 10,000-horsepower Auto Club Ford Mustang during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

Hight, currently second in points behind teammate and reigning world champion John Force, can make a big step towards his second Funny Car world championship by racing well at this weekend’s 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. The stakes are certainly raised during the Countdown, but that has often brought out the best in Hight.

“We had a great regular season but the key is to be leading the points after the last race of the season,” Hight said. “It is a whole new ballgame now. The first 18 races are in the past. If you want a championship you better be on top of your game. Winning in the Countdown is what it is all about.”

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. It marks the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. The continuation of eliminations for the Countdown opener, the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, will also be completed during qualifying rounds at the Texas Motorplex. In Top Fuel and Funny Car three rounds of racing remain, while Pro Stock still has all four to be completed. Four pairs of Pro Stock cars also need to complete their first round runs.

Hight won his first-round matchup in Charlotte and will face Jeff Arend in the quarterfinals. It sets up what could be a huge weekend for Hight, who knows how crucial it is to start well during the Countdown. With two races now being completed at the Texas Motorplex the spotlight will be even bigger in Dallas.

“With four races in a row getting a good start is important,” Hight said. “You want to build momentum and not fall behind. You better not waste any round wins. Also that all-concrete track (in Dallas) is key for qualifying bonus points. It might be hot but we have a good hot weather tune up so I am excited.”

Following a victory in Denver, Hight, who has 34 career victories, ran into a rough spot, dropping first-round matchups in three of the four races heading into the Countdown.

But Hight has always performed well during the Countdown, as his six victories are second only to Pedregon’s eight for most in Funny Car history. Plus Hight’s standout crew chief Mike Neff is aiming to win a Funny Car championship with a third different driver, something no Funny Car crew chief has done.

Standing in Hight’s way is an abundance of championship contenders that features Countdown participants John Force, Pedregon, Del Worsham, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr.

“There are so many tough Funny Cars and I have some of the toughest competition coming from my own teammates,” said Hight, who has two career wins in Dallas. “In the Countdown anything can happen. This is a tough, tough category and if you slip up just a little you aren’t going to get any freebies. Neff and I have been talking and we have a great game plan for the Countdown. I have so much confidence in Neff and my Auto Club crew guys.”

The Auto Club involvement also makes it a special event for Hight but that extra attention simply means the reward is that much better if he is able to come through with a memorable performance at the Texas Motorplex.

“I love racing for AAA Texas,” Hight said. “We will see a lot of AAA Texas people at the race and you do feel some pressure but I wouldn’t call it extra pressure. You want to do well for your sponsor at every race. With the championship on the line it is pretty cool to have your sponsors around at the Countdown races. We are lucky because we have sponsors involved in three of the six Countdown races with Dallas, St. Louis and Pomona.”

In Top Fuel, Kalitta has advanced to nine final rounds in 2014 and will be after a second straight Dallas Top Fuel win, while the ultra-talented field also features Countdown qualifiers Tony Schumacher, who has five Dallas wins, Antron Brown, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon, Spencer Massey, Brittany Force, Khalid alBalooshi, Richie Crampton, Steve Torrence and J.R. Todd.

Line, last season’s Dallas winner in Pro Stock took over the points lead after winning in Brainerd and is after his third career championship. Line will try to thwart off challenges from a strong field that includes reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin, Allen Johnson, four-time 2014 winner Erica Enders-Stevens, Dave Connolly, V Gaines, Shane Gray, rookie Jonathan Gray, Vincent Nobile and Texas resident Chris McGaha.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec and his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team has been the most consistent this season. Teammate Andrew Hines is the current points leader and Krawiec enters the Countdown off his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win. Reigning world champ Matt Smith, Michael Ray, Angie Smith, Steve Johnson, Hector Arana, Hector Arana Jr. and Scotty Pollacheck are a few of the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders who will attempt to take home a Dallas victory.

The race will also mark the return to competition for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey-Drago. After sitting out the last five seasons to start a family, she is returning to action at this event riding the Star Racing Buell owned by George Bryce. It is a fitting return for the Louisiana native during a season where women have made a huge impact with a record number of wins on the track. She is the winningest female NHRA racer in history with 41 career victories.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. (also Charlotte PS and PSM eliminations). The final two qualifying sessions, which will both include Charlotte eliminations, will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The Charlotte final rounds will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Texas Motorplex at (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775) or visit www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

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THREE-TIME PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE WORLD CHAMPION ANGELLE SAMPEY-DRAGO RETURNS TO COMPETITION AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS

September 17, 2014 by  
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268-AngelleStarRacing-smENNIS, Texas — In her mind, Angelle Sampey-Drago was happily retired. But after a trip to an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event earlier this year, the itch to compete started to come back. When the team that gave the winningest female in NHRA history her start in Pro Stock Motorcycle called asking her to return to competition, Sampey-Drago knew she had to at least consider it.

After getting the full support of her family, the three-time PSM world champion knew it was time end her retirement. Sampey-Drago and George Bryce’s Star Racing team announced the return of one of the sport’s most popular drivers during a press conference at last weekend’s Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte.

Sampey-Drago and her Star Racing team won’t waste any time in getting back on the bike, either, as she will make her first appearance since 2008 at this weekend’s 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.

“I never thought I was going to be back here again,” said Sampey-Drago, who has 41 career wins. “When I retired seven years ago I really thought that was it for me. As the years went on I started thinking about it. I went out to Houston (in April) and there was something about being there. I had my little girl with me and she loved it. This is such an awesome family sport and I thought maybe I could do it.

“It’s pretty awesome. It’s a whole new perspective on how awesome this is going to be. I’m looking forward to the fun of it this time around, the fun of sharing it with my family and especially my little girl.”

Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. It marks the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. The continuation of eliminations for the Countdown opener, the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, will also be completed during qualifying rounds at the Texas Motorplex. In Top Fuel and Funny Car three rounds of racing remain, while Pro Stock still has all four to be completed. Four pairs of Pro Stock cars also need to complete their first round runs.

Star Racing wanted something big to celebrate its 35th year in racing in 2015. Enticing Sampey-Drago to end her retirement qualifies as that, but an opening on Star Racing’s two-bike team made her first appearance much more immediate. After being away from the sport starting in 2009, Sampey-Drago had her doubts about returning to racing. With her family firmly on board, it took 10 passes over a two-day test session to convince her that she was still capable of competing at a high level.

“I didn’t know if I could even ride anymore,” Sampey-Drago said. “I didn’t know if I could physically do it. We went testing and I was scared to death for my first run. I had to tell myself to do what I knew how to do. After I was done, I told them I was ready.”

Sampey-Drago’s legacy was firmly secure when she retired following the 2008 season where she finished in the top five for an incredible 12th straight year. After making her debut with Star Racing in 1996, Sampey-Drago went on a remarkable tear, winning three straight championships from 2000-2002.

She passed Shirley Muldowney for the most victories by a female in 2001, earning seven victories that year, which also stands as a record for most victories by a female in a single season. But the one mark she is still chasing in Pro Stock Motorcycle – the 45 career wins by Dave Schultz – provided a big motivating factor.

“That’s the main reason why I did say yes,” Sampey-Drago said. “If I had the title of the winningest racer I don’t think I would have anything else to accomplish. I accomplished every goal I wanted to except I didn’t win those four races to tie Dave and five to beat him. I know with the way the competition is now it could take a while to get that but I can’t do it if I don’t try.”

To get to that point Sampey-Drago knows she will again have to compete at a high level, especially against the current crop of Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors that includes Countdown standouts Krawiec, points leader Andrew Hines, reigning world champ Matt Smith, Michael Ray, Angie Smith, John Hall, Steve Johnson, Hector Arana, Hector Arana Jr. and Scotty Pollacheck.

Going as quick as 6.90 seconds in testing – not far off her career-best pass of 6.871 – showed her the potential to run well is there. But the two-day test session also validated something else that was just as important heading into Dallas.

“I don’t think I’ve lost the desire or drive,” Sampey-Drago said. “I think I still have the passion. I didn’t know if I did until we went testing. But when we went that 6.90 and I started screaming, I knew I still had the desire. Whether I still have the capability we will see. It’s going to be a work in progress. I have to get used to the bike and the competition again. I have a lot to learn and get back into and that’s why we wanted to start as soon as the opportunity opened up.”

In Top Fuel, Kalitta has advanced to nine final rounds in 2014 and will be after a second straight Dallas win, while the ultra-talented field also features Countdown qualifiers Tony Schumacher, who has five Dallas victories, Antron Brown, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon, Texans Spencer Massey and Steve Torrence, Brittany Force, Khalid alBalooshi, Richie Crampton and J.R. Todd.

In Funny Car, two-time world champ Pedregon took home the Wally last season but he is chasing points leader and reigning world champion John Force. Two-time Dallas winners Del Worsham and Robert Hight, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, U.S. Nationals winner Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr. are among other championship hopefuls.

Line, last season’s Dallas winner in Pro Stock took over the points lead after winning in Brainerd and is after his third career championship. Line will try to thwart off challenges from a strong field that includes reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin, Allen Johnson, four-time 2014 winner Erica Enders-Stevens, Dave Connolly, V Gaines, Shane Gray, rookie Jonathan Gray, Vincent Nobile and Texas resident Chris McGaha.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. (also Charlotte PS and PSM eliminations). The final two qualifying sessions, which will both include Charlotte eliminations, will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The Charlotte final rounds will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Texas Motorplex at (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775) or visit www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

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The Al-Anabi Racing Team and His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani

September 16, 2014 by  
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The Al-Anabi Racing Team and His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs

29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals & Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series

Texas Motorplex; Ennis, Texas

Pre-Event Notes and Quotes

 

For immediate release.                                                                                                Sept. 16, 2014

 

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster (silver):

 

Residence: Avon, Ind.

Hometown: Mira Loma, Calif.

Date of birth: Sept. 3, 1982

Crew chief:  Brian Husen

Al-Anabi Racing Team Owner: His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani

Al-Anabi Racing Team Manager: Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson Racing Owner: Alan Johnson

2014 wins/final rounds: 1/5 (.200)

Career wins/final rounds: 9/23 (.391)

2014 No. 1 qualifiers: 3

Career No. 1 qualifiers: 16

Best points finish: 1st (2013)

Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances:  6 (2009, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ‘14)

First start: Pomona 1, 2009

Career-best elapsed time: 3.712 seconds (Reading, 2012)

Career-best speed: 334.15 mph (Reading, 2012)

 

■          Reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon enters the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, the second of six races that comprise the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs, in third place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Point standings – the same position in which he started the Countdown last week in Charlotte.  Langdon lost to his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, in the first round of Charlotte eliminations, but since the race was suspended and will be completed this weekend, the point standings are unchanged.

 

■          Last week in Charlotte at the opening round of the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs, Langdon was the No. 6 qualifier and lost to his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, in the first round of eliminations.  It was the second time in as many years that Langdon opened the Countdown with a first-round loss, but last year, he went on to win the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship.

 

■          Texas Motorplex near Dallas is one of just four race tracks on which the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes at which the Al-Anabi Racing Team has never won a race.  The other three are in Epping, N.H., Denver and St. Louis.  One year ago in Dallas, Langdon was the No. 1 qualifier; he defeated T.J. Zizzo, Bob Vandergriff and Morgan Lucas before losing to Doug Kalitta in the final round of eliminations.

 

■          Langdon has advanced to at least the semifinals at eight of the last 15 races.  He won his first race of the season and the ninth of his career in June in Bristol, Tenn.  He has one win (Bristol), four final rounds (Charlotte, Topeka, Norwalk and Sonoma) and three semifinal appearances (Houston, Englishtown and Seattle) in the last 15 races.

 

■          Langdon has been a solid qualifier this season; he has qualified in the top-five positions at 12 of the 19 races; his average qualifying position in 2014 is 5.00.  He has three No. 1 qualifiers this season and 16 in his career.  He was an excellent qualifier last year when his average qualifying position was 3.75.

 

■          Langdon and his teammate Khalid alBalooshi have raced each other 11 times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in six of the first 10 meetings, the winner went on to win the race.  Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 7-4.

Year

Winner

Loser

Location

Round

Winner’s Result

2012

Langdon

alBalooshi

Sonoma

First

Second

2012

alBalooshi

Langdon

Reading

Semifinals

Win

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Pomona1

Semifinals

Win

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Houston

Semifinals

Final Round

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Englishtown

Finals

Win

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Pomona1

Semifinals

Win

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Las Vegas1

First

Second

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Bristol

First

Win

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Sonoma

Finals

Win

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Seattle

Second

Semifinal

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Charlotte2

First

TBD

 

■          Langdon is the reigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Champion for the first time in his career.  The 2013 title was Langdon’s fourth NHRA National Championship.  He won the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster National Championship in the 14 year old division and the NHRA Lucas Oil Super Comp championship in 2007 and ’08.  He is the first alumnus of the NHRA Junior Dragster program to win a Mello Yello Championship.

 

■          Last year’s NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship was the third in the last four seasons for the Al-Anabi Racing Team.  Larry Dixon won in 2010, and Del Worsham won in 2011.  When Langdon won the title last year, he became the fifth driver to win a Top Fuel title with Alan Johnson serving as the crew chief, team owner or team manager.  The other Top Fuel champions that worked with Johnson during their championship seasons are: Gary Scelzi, Tony Schumacher, Dixon and Worsham.

 

■          When Langdon won the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last year, it was the 11th Top Fuel title for legendary tuner and Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson.  He won his previous 10 Top Fuel championships serving as crew chief, team owner and team manager. Including his NHRA National Championships in alcohol dragster, Johnson now has 15 NHRA National Championships.

 

■          Langdon recorded the fastest speed to 1,000 feet in NHRA history in October of 2012 in Reading, Pa., when he reached 334.15 mph.  In addition, during the same Reading race weekend, his 3.712-second elapsed time was the national elapsed-time record until Antron Brown made a quicker pass in the same weekend and set the record.  Langdon’s run still stands as the second-quickest 1,000-foot run in NHRA history; in fact, Langdon holds the second, fourth and fifth-quickest elapsed times in NHRA history.

 

■          Including former Al-Anabi drivers Larry Dixon and Del Worsham, the Al-Anabi Racing Team won 39 races and three World Championships in its first five seasons (2009 -’13) for an average of 7.8 wins a season or nearly a third of the races. Including the 2014 season, the Al-Anabi Racing Team has now won 42 races.

Year

Driver

Wins

Driver

Wins

Team Wins

Season Result

2014

Langdon

1

alBalooshi

2

3

2013

Langdon

7

alBalooshi

1

8

Langdon Championship

2012

Langdon

1

alBalooshi

1

2

Langdon 4th;alBalooshi 11th

2011

Worsham

8 (TF)

Dixon

2

10

Worsham Championship

2010

Dixon

12

Worsham

0(FC)

12

Dixon Championship

2009

Dixon

5

Worsham

2(FC)

7

Dixon 2nd; Worsham 7th

 

■          Langdon qualified for the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs in each of his five previous seasons driving a Top Fuel car.  He won the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel World Championship last year, finished fourth in 2012 after finishing ninth in 2011, fifth in 2010, and ninth in 2009, his rookie season.

 

          Langdon joined the Al-Anabi Racing team prior to the 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.  He won the 2007 and ’08 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Super Comp championships and the 1997 NHRA Junior Dragster championship in the 14-year old division making him a three-time NHRA national series champion.

 

Langdon prior to Dallas: 

“We lost a good race to our teammate on Sunday in Charlotte; unfortunately, sometimes you have to race your teammate, and it’s just the nature of the beast.  You just race your teammate like any other competitor.  We made a great run, but Balooshi and the gold Al-Anabi team were a little bit better.  We had one of the quicker runs of the round, but the car spit out a couple of spark plugs. It was unfortunate because we’ve had a great race car; it’s been very competitive.  I think our run would have been a little bit better if that hadn’t happened, and maybe we would have been racing in the second round this weekend in Dallas. But that’s part of the sport; parts failures are going to happen, but the timing was unfortunate.

“We did a good job last year bouncing back from a first-round loss in the first race of the Countdown, and we plan to do the same this year.  We have five races to be absolutely perfect so we have to head to Dallas and be ready to perform this weekend.

“Last year, we accomplished a lot in the last five races of the season, and I know the Al-Anabi team can do the same this year.  If you look back at what this team has done in the past, when you really get down to it, this team knows how to handle pressure and perform when it counts.  The Al-Anabi team has done it in the past, and they can do it again.  We just have to look forward, keep our heads up, keep working hard and keep doing the best we can.

“It’s easy to let the pressure get to you and fold under it, but the Al-Anabi team, having been there before, knows how to deal with the pressure.  That’s something they taught me last year.  So hopefully the team’s experience and the little bit of experience I have now will come together when we need it.”

For additional information on team manager Alan Johnson or Shawn Langdon, please visit www.alanabiracing.com to view their full bios.

 

Khalid alBalooshi, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster (gold):

 

Residence: Los Angeles, Calif.

Hometown: Dubai, UAE

Date of Birth: July 27, 1979

Crew Chief: Jason McCulloch

Al-Anabi Racing Team Owner: His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani

Al-Anabi Racing Team Manager: Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson Racing Owner: Alan Johnson

2014 wins/final rounds: 2/3 (.667)

Career wins/final rounds: 4/7 (.571)

2014 No. 1 Qualifiers: 0

Career No. 1 qualifiers: 0

Career-best points finish: 8th (2013)

Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs appearances: 2 (2013, ‘14)

First professional start: Pomona1, 2012

Career-best elapsed time:  3.735 seconds (Reading 2012) 

Career-best speed: 328.46 mph (Reading, 2012) 

 

■          Third-year Top Fuel driver Khalid alBalooshi enters the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, the second of six races that comprise the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs in seventh place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Point standings– the same position in which he started the Countdown last week in Charlotte.  AlBalooshi defeated his teammate, Shawn Langdon, in the first round of Charlotte eliminations, but since the race was suspended and will be completed this weekend, the point standings are unchanged.

 

■          AlBalooshi defeated his teammate, Shawn Langdon, in the first round of the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte.  The majority of the race was postponed until this weekend when eliminations will resume during qualifying.  AlBalooshi will race Morgan Lucas in the second round of eliminations on Saturday, which will also be the third round of qualifying for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.  Should alBalooshi win, the fourth round of qualifying will double as the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals semifinals.  The teams that reach the final round of Charlotte eliminations will race after the fourth round of Dallas qualifying Saturday evening.

 

■          AlBalooshi and his gold Al-Anabi Racing Team have a very consistent race car.  At the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.  The car made four excellent qualifying runs in five attempts and made excellent passes in the first and second rounds of eliminations. That consistency continued this past weekend in Charlotte when the team made three solid passes in four qualifying attempts and made their best pass of the weekend in the first round of eliminations, a 3.780-second effort at more than 317 mph.

 

■          AlBalooshi, the first Middle East native to compete in a major United States Motorsports Series, is competing in the Countdown to the Championship NHRA Playoffs for the second-consecutive year.  He has two wins, a runner-up finish and two semifinal appearances this season. He finished eighth in the final point standings last year and 13th in his 2012 rookie season.

 

■          Texas Motorplex near Dallas is one of just four race tracks on which the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competes at which the Al-Anabi Racing Team has never won a race.  The other three are in Epping, N.H., Denver and St. Louis.  One year ago in Dallas, alBalooshi did not qualify for eliminations.

 

■          AlBalooshi won the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals in July in Sonoma, Calif.  It was his second win of the season and the fourth of his career. The win was extra special because it happened on his 35th birthday.  The 2014 season marks the first time that alBalooshi has recorded multiple Top Fuel wins in the same season.

 

■          AlBalooshi has swept the NHRA races in California this season.  He won the season-opening NHRA Circle K Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., in February and the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in July.  Last season, alBalooshi’s teammate, Shawn Langdon, swept all three California races winning the Circle K Winternationals, the Sonoma Nationals and the season ending NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif.  The Al-Anabi Racing Team has won the last five NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in the state of California

 

■          AlBalooshi and his teammate Shawn Langdon have raced each other 11 times in their respective Top Fuel careers, and in six of the first 10 meetings, the winner went on to win the race.  Langdon leads the career head-to-head series, 7-4.

Year

Winner

Loser

Location

Round

Winner’s Result

2012

Langdon

alBalooshi

Sonoma

First

Second

2012

alBalooshi

Langdon

Reading

Semifinals

Win

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Pomona1

Semifinals

Win

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Houston

Semifinals

Final Round

2013

Langdon

alBalooshi

Englishtown

Finals

Win

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Pomona1

Semifinals

Win

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Las Vegas1

First

Second

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Bristol

First

Win

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Sonoma

Finals

Win

2014

Langdon

alBalooshi

Seattle

Second

Semifinal

2014

alBalooshi

Langdon

Charlotte2

First

              TBD

 

 

 

■          AlBalooshi finished a career-best eighth in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.  He won a race and recorded two runner-up finishes along the way.  Now a three-time Top Fuel winner, he is far more experienced in Top Fuel than he was when he began making the move from Pro Mod to Top Fuel two years ago.  The Dubai native had 25 round wins last season.  In his 2012 rookie season, alBalooshi won a total of 14 rounds of racing showing an improvement of nearly 79% last season.

 

■          AlBalooshi raced in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout two weeks ago in Indianapolis, the third-year special event for Top Fuel and Funny Car teams with $100,000 going to the winning team in each category.  It was the second-consecutive season in which the Dubai native raced in the special event.  With point standings entering the race used to determine pairings, alBalooshi raced his teammate, Shawn Langdon, in the first round.  Langdon won, and alBalooshi was eliminated.

 

■          Prior to the 2014 season, alBalooshi had two race wins.  He won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio in 2013 and the NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa., in 2012, his rookie season.

 

■          Including former Al-Anabi drivers Larry Dixon and Del Worsham, the Al-Anabi Racing Team won 39 races three World Championships in its first five seasons (2009 -’13) for an average of 7.8 wins a season or nearly a third of the races. Including the 2014 season, the Al-Anabi Racing Team has now won 42 races.

Year

Driver

Wins

Driver

Wins

Team Wins

Season Result

2014

Langdon

1

alBalooshi

2

3

2013

Langdon

7

alBalooshi

1

8

Langdon Championship

2012

Langdon

1

alBalooshi

1

2

Langdon 4th;alBalooshi 11th

2011

Worsham

8 (TF)

Dixon

2

10

Worsham Championship

2010

Dixon

12

Worsham

0(FC)

12

Dixon Championship

2009

Dixon

5

Worsham

2(FC)

7

Dixon 2nd; Worsham 7th

 

■          AlBalooshi’s rookie year was a story of two very different half seasons.  In the first half of the 2012 season, alBalooshi was defeated in the first round of eliminations at all 12 races.  However, after getting his first Top Fuel round win at Denver in July, alBalooshi advanced to at least the second round of eliminations at10 of the last 11 races of the season including each of the last nine.  He had a win and a semifinal in the last three races, and before he lost in the Las Vegas semifinals at the second-to-last race of the year, he had won six consecutive rounds of racing.

 

■          Because he finished eighth in the final 2013 NHRA MelloYello Top Fuel point standings, alBalooshi is able to display the No. 8 on the rear wing of the gold Al-Anabi Racing dragster.  However, alBalooshi chose to keep the No. 99 on the car as a tribute to Al-Anabi Racing team owner His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani; nine is Sheikh Khalid’s favorite number.

 

■          AlBalooshi, the first Middle Eastern driver to compete in a major United States Motorsports series, joined the Al-Anabi Racing Team as a Pro Mod driver when it was formed in 2009 racing in both Arabian Drag Racing League and American Drag Racing League competition.  He is the 2011 NHRA Pro Mod champion.  Prior to joining the Top Fuel portion of the Al-Anabi Racing Team in 2012, he had 158 career race wins in various classes of competition; he now has 162 career wins.

 

 

AlBalooshi prior to Dallas: 

“Running two different races in Dallas will be tough on all of the crew chiefs this week.  You have one race (Charlotte) during qualifying, but you still have to make the show for the race on Sunday (Dallas).  So it will be hard on the crew chief and the crew guys especially for the teams that make the Charlotte final round – that will be an extra run.  What I know for sure is we have a good, consistent car, and I am looking forward to racing in Dallas this week.

“We will continue the Charlotte race in a completely different place with completely different conditions, but we have a smart crew chief.  I know our guys will have everything figured out, and we are hoping to catch a good weekend over there.  We did not have a good race there last year, but I do not worry about that.  I am going to the race knowing that I am going to do my best, my crew chief will do his best, and all of our crew guys will do their best. Our car is back, and I know we can do some big things with it soon.”

 

For additional information on team manager Alan Johnson or Khalid alBalooshi, please visit www.alanabiracing.com to view their full bios.

 

 

About Al-Anabi Racing:

 

Al-Anabi Racing operates out of multiple locations in both the United States and Qatar.  In the United States, the Brownsburg, Ind.-based operation is a two-car NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series team that is managed by Alan Johnson Racing. Sheikh Khalid’s initiative has created increased international awareness of the State of Qatar while highlighting the nation’s international sports outreach. Alan Johnson is a 15-time NHRA champion in various capacities including crew chief, team owner and team manager.  For additional information on the Al-Anabi Racing Team, team manager Alan Johnson or drivers Khalid alBalooshi or Shawn Langdon, please visit www.alanabiracing.com.

                                                                          

 
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Hometown race gets double the excitement for Texas-based Massey this weekend during NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex

September 16, 2014 by  
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Hometown race gets double the excitement for Texas-based Massey this weekend during NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 16, 2014) - Going home is always exciting for Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher driver Spencer Massey. But the excitement is now doubled for the Fort Worth native.

Spencer, a two-time runner-up at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas, will have two opportunities to win at his home track where he first witnessed the excitement of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing.

After NHRA officials postponed the Charlotte event Sunday after one round of nitro competition, Spencer and the Red Fuel team will be competing on Saturday for the Charlotte event win before racing for a Texas trophy on Sunday.

“I’ve never won a Top Fuel race at home in Dallas, but now I have two chances,” Spencer said. “It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get the event in at Charlotte. Now we have double the pressure at the Motorplex.

“It’s the Countdown. Every run counts. It’s tough. We’ve been struggling but our performance in Charlotte gives us confidence. We qualified well, made a good lap in the first round and now we have to try to continue that this weekend. We’ll be ready.”

A year ago at the Texas facility, Spencer was ousted in the semifinals but has two runner-up finishes (2011-12).

“We’ve had some success at Dallas, but we’ve never won it. It’s a big race for everyone because it’s a Countdown trace. But it’s extra special for me. In my mind, it’s the biggest race of the year.”

“Hopefully on Sunday we’ll have a chance to celebrate with everyone.”

TOP FUEL FROM CHARLOTTE
Event winner: The event was postponed by afternoon rain before second round of eliminations.
No. 1 Qualifier: J.R. Todd (Kalitta Motorsports) 3.804 sec., 317.64 mph

SPENCER MASSEY, Red Fuel Powered by Schumacher Top Fuel Dragster
Qualifying Position: No. 8
SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP ELIMINATIONS
FIRST ROUND: MASSEY (3.786 sec., 322.38 mph) def. Antron Brown (3.808, 318.62); QUARTERFINALS: MASSEY vs. J.R. Todd
QUALIFYING
FRIDAY: 3.858 sec., 317.42 mph, (Session 1); 3.851, 319.37, (Session 2)
SATURDAY: 3.865, 306.81, (Session 3); 3.870, 309.70, (Session 4)

BY THE NUMBERS
Last weekend at Charlotte (completion postponed to this Saturday near Dallas): Qualified No. 8; faces J.R. Todd in quarterfinals
A year ago at Dallas: Qualified No. 6; lost in semifinals to Doug Kalitta
Career fall at Dallas: Wins 0; Runner-ups 2 (2012, 2011); Poles 0

           Pts    Events   Titles          Rup      Semi      Qtr     1st rd     Poles     DNQ   Win/Loss   

2014   6th         18          2                 0            1           9          6             0            0         19-16

CAREER          113       16               14           25        27        29            7             2       181-95

Best Time, Speed: 3.728 sec. (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.); 332.18 mph                

NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

(Points updated through first round from Sept. 14 at Charlotte that will be completed at Dallas; DSR drivers in CAPS)

TOP FUEL 
driver (wins)                           points   behind
1. Doug Kalitta (2)                  2,149      ——
2. TONY SCHUMACHER (2) 2,116      -33
3. Steve Torrence                   2,113      -36
4. ANTRON BROWN (5)        2,112       37
5. Shawn Langdon (1)            2,106      -43
6. SPENCER MASSEY (2)     2,094      -55
7. Khalid alBalooshi (2)           2,082      -67
8. JR Todd (1)                         2,064      -85
9. Richie Crampton (2)            2,051     -98
10. Brittany Force                    2,043    -106

 

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