DOHA, QATAR (February 4, 2011) – Records continued to fall at Qatar Racing Club (QRC) and Khalid Al-Balooshi continued to amaze.
With those themes dominating Round Six qualifying of the Arabian Drag Racing League on Friday, it was a day to remember in Qatar as the final three-week stretch of the 2010-2011 season started in electrifying fashion.
Al-Balooshi, already the points leader and winner of three races in Pro Nitrous, set the bar even higher on Friday, running a record-breaking 3.794 at 197.83 miles per hour to take his seemingly customary spot at the top.
Al-Balooshi also became the first driver in Pro Nitrous history to reach the 3.7 mark.
“I would like to thank everybody who had a hand in helping me get to this position,” Al-Balooshi said. “This is awesome what my car is doing.
“The car left good and when it hit second gear, it just took off. I thought I saw it on the scoreboard and when I saw (his teammates) coming down the return road clapping, I knew it had to be good. ”
After qualifying was delayed a day due to weather on Thursday, Al-Balooshi wasn’t the only competitor to deliver record times.
Terry Schweigert jumped to the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Extreme Motorcycle, breaking the Arabian record with a 4.10.
Matt Smith’s 3.623 at 208 mph put the Al-Anabi Racing driver atop a remarkably competitive Pro Extreme division, while Dan Millen’s 3.820 at 203 mph has him sitting in front in Extreme 10.5.
One qualifying round remains on Saturday with eliminations to follow at QRC.
Schweigert will hope to maintain his momentum from Friday after going 4.13, 4.12 and the record-breaking 4.10.
He had not even planned to make a third qualifying run, but tuner extraordinaire Dan Wagner convinced him otherwise.
“Dan has such a passion and he told me we’re here to have fun, so he turned it up a little bit,” Schweigert said. “It was all good and it turned into a heck of a pass. It was just an excellent day.”
Meshal Al-Saber is second at 4.15 and Matt Smith is third with a 4.17.
Schweigert has struggled in recent weeks during eliminations, but he’s hoping to replicate the formula that gave him a win in Round One.
“I think what I have to do is just relax, stay focused and concentrate,” Schweigert said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m confident and I just have to let it happen.”
Whatever Al-Balooshi has done this winter has seemingly turned to gold in Pro Nitrous.
He reached the 3.80 mark during a strong winning performance in Round Five last month but his record performance on Friday showed the team wasn’t content.
Shannon Jenkins’ teammate, Mahanna Al-Naimi, ran a career-best 3.81 to sit in second, but Friday’s qualifying was all about Al-Balooshi and his team.
“Everyone on the team deserves credit. I work with a lot of awesome people,” tuner Brandon Switzer said. “All the guys at Speedtech were wanting this so bad and to be the first car in the 3.70s is amazing. It feels good to give that to them.”
Khaled Mohammed is in third with a 3.85.
Matt Smith continues to develop at a strong rate in Pro Extreme, driving team owner KH Al-Thani’s Camaro to the top spot in a loaded field.
The eight-car bump is currently an incredible 3.71 and Smith has plenty of company near the top despite his 3.623 at nearly 210 mph.
“We’re getting there,” Smith said. “We’ve got the most power of any car over here and we’re going to be fast with it, too.”
Ali Aryan is close behind with a 3.626 and Von Smith’s 3.63 at 209 mph was one of the more impressive runs of the day as well. In all, seven drivers – Matt Smith, Aryan, Von Smith, Alex Hossler, Frankie Taylor, J.R. Todd and Todd Tutterow – ran 3.67 or quicker.
Millen was consistent in his three passes in Extreme 10.5 and he will take the No. 1 spot into Saturday with a 3.820 that is slightly quicker than his record in the American Drag Racing League (ADRL).
Taylor went 3.97, good for second, while David Hance (4.33) is in third.