It took four events and plenty of headaches, but Hossler finally appears to have regained that magic.
With three races of frustration behind him, the Al-Anabi Racing driver rebounded in a major way, setting career-bests across the board, as his 3.641 at 209 miles per hour vaulted him to the top of qualifying after three rounds on Thursday at Qatar Racing Club (QRC).
“To get a career-best is always uplifting, especially after the first three races when we couldn’t get things to come together,” Hossler said. “For it all to work is comforting, but not too comforting in this class.
“The bump already (3.74) and it could be 60-something (Friday). There’s no easy rounds here, but to go 3.64 feels good.”
With one round of qualifying left for the fourth race of the eight-race series, the bump is already incredibly quick, as Mike Stawicki sits in eighth with 3.74.
Notables currently out of the field include 2010 American Drag Racing League (ADRL) Extreme 10.5 World Champion Dan Millen (3.81), who is racing in PX this week while the start of the XTF season is pushed back a week, Matt Smith (4.36) and Joshua Hernandez (3.85).
The quick times carried over to Pro Nitrous and Pro Extreme Motorcycle as well.
Khalid Al-Balooshi, the 2009 ADRL World Champion in PN, is currently second with a 3.887, a day after his car caught fire in testing. Mahanna Al-Naimi is first with a 3.880.
In PXM, Terry Schweigert re-set the track record he set in the first race in December, going 4.13 on his second qualifying pass.
Rob Hunnicutt, looking to make it three straight wins while also extending his points lead, isn’t far off, sitting in second with a career-best 4.14.
That came on his third qualifying run and left Hunnicutt feeling excited about Friday.
“I went faster every round, so I’m really excited,” Hunnicutt said. “I’m just hoping I can keep it up.”
Hunnicutt went a 4.15 before his quickest pass of the day, and it all came after some minor adjustments on a track he has enjoyed ever since arriving in December.
Matt Smith went a 4.15 to qualify third in PXM, but Schweigert and Hunnicutt appear on a collision course to meet in another final round. Schweigert won the first race, but Hunnicutt has been untouchable lately.
“We started the day with some problems and we ended up leaving the line on our first pass with way too much bottle pressure,” Hunnicutt said. “We changed the solenoid and went a career-best, and I was pumped. We just have to keep it up.”
Hossler is certainly hoping for more of the same in Pro Extreme, but he has plenty of company at the top.
Ali Aryan is in second in PX (3.667), while Todd Tutterow is in third after going 3.669. Other top performances include Von Smith (3.675), and Frankie Taylor (3.679), who is seeking his second win.
But Hossler and his team, led by Rob Flynn and Mike Guger, appear to have righted the ship after a number of frustrating minor problems last month.
“We weren’t really making the wrong tune-up calls, it was just non-stop bad luck,” Hossler said. “We never had a chance to work on our tune-up because we were wondering what would break next.
“We’re ecstatic after what we did today. Hopefully we can carry it into (Friday) and go some rounds for a change.”
Like Hossler, Tutterow suffered through similar difficulties during the three-race session at QRC in December.
He seemed to have corrected those problems as well. Tutterow posted two runs in the 3.6s, which came after a strong testing session on Wednesday.
“I feel very confident right now,” Tutterow said. “The last two days are the most consistent we’ve had here. I feel good heading into (Friday).”
Al-Balooshi turned in another solid performance on Thursday in PN, this time with a new motor after his testing mishap a day ago.
But he remains far from satisfied as he shoots for his second win in four races in PN.
“We’re going to try to be a little faster,” Al-Balooshi said. “This car has shown it can go in the 3.9s and high 3.8s, but that’s not what we’re looking at. We want to go faster.
“The guys are working very carefully to make the car perfect.”