Performance Improving For alBalooshi
NORWALK, Ohio — The results might not have shown it recently, but Khalid alBalooshi knows that his Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel team is close to returning to impressive performances. With the next race on the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series already a proven winner for alBalooshi, it could be a case of perfect timing.
AlBalooshi and his 10,000-horsepower dragster will enter this weekend’s eighth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk as the defending winner in Top Fuel and it couldn’t come at a more ideal time.
After starting the season with a victory in Pomona, alBalooshi has struggled to recreate that championship form. But alBalooshi, who has three career victories, believes a turnaround is coming and with it could come a second straight win in Norwalk.
“We’re finding out a lot of things about the car,” alBalooshi said. “Everyone is doing their job and we’re putting everything together to give me the best car we can, especially now that we’ve found the problem. We were trying something different and working on some different things, and I feel like I know exactly what it’s going to do this race. We know how to make the car keep getting better. I think you will see a lot from the Al-Anabi team very soon and I feel like we’ve got our hot rod back.”
Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also last year’s winners of the event.
This year’s event marks the 13th of 24 races during the 2014 season and alBalooshi carries plenty of fond memories of last year’s triumph into Norwalk. After qualifying 10th alBalooshi knocked off Antron Brown and Clay Millican to reach the final where he then defeated Doug Kalitta.
AlBalooshi’s victory in Pomona also included a final round win against Kalitta, but Kalitta has been nearly unbeatable since then, taking over the points lead with one victory and seven overall final round appearances.
“That was one of the best weekends I’ve had,” alBalooshi said. “Everything was working that day and we beat a lot of good competitors to get the win. Our car and team did a great job that weekend to get the win.”
In an effort to recreate that moment in Norwalk the team has put in heavy hours and made several changes to the car. AlBalooshi seemed poised to get back on track after a round win in Epping, N.H., but a first-round loss to J.R. Todd on Sunday in Chicago gave alBalooshi, who dropped to eighth in points with the early exit, three first round defeats in the past four races. Still, alBalooshi continues to see improvements and believes a breakout performance could be right around the corner.