DOHA, QATAR --
Sheikh Khalid placed third in qualifying with a 3.859-seconds pass at 199.75 mph over the eighth mile at the Qatar Race Club facility, near Doha, Qatar. He initiated the run with an impressive .011 reaction time and then ran .959 to the 60-foot marker and 2.615 seconds to half-track.
The Sheik is driving a brand-new car built by Tim McAmis Race Cars in Hawk Point, Missouri, and has multi-time Alcohol Funny Car champion Frank Manzo calling the shots as his crew chief.
"I'm very comfortable in the car," Sheikh Khalid said. "But seeing Frank Manzo out in front of the car, bringing me into the lights, that makes me feel even more confident."
Kenny Nowling, president and CEO of the Arabian Drag Racing League and holder of the same roles with the O'Fallon, Missouri-based American Drag Racing League (ADRL), said it's "nothing short of remarkable" how well Sheikh Khalid has taken to handling a Pro Extreme car.
"Sheikh Khalid's performance here is a testament to Tim McAmis and Frank Manzo for putting together a great program, but at the end of the day you have to drive the car and I can honestly say I've never been more impressed by a first-time entrant," Nowling stated. "Make no mistake about it, these cars are animals and very difficult to drive, a Pro Extreme car is probably the hardest car to handle in drag racing today and the Sheikh is doing a fantastic job."
Now in the semi-finals, Sheikh Khalid will face off against Bader Ahli; driving the same '06 Mustang his crew chief, Todd Tutterow, drove to the U.S.-based ADRL's Pro Extreme world championship last month at Ennis, Texas. The winner of that match will then race top qualifier (3.735/205.22) Von Smith of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the event title.
In Pro Nitrous, newly crowned American Drag Racing League champion Khalid Al-Balooshi took the top qualifying position with a 3.823-seconds pass at 196.24 mph, followed by teammate Mike Castellana at 3.935 and 191.75 mph. Nitrous tuning legend Shannon "Iceman" Jenkins is serving as crew chief on both cars.
Nowling said he becomes more impressed with the facilities and fans with each trip he makes to Doha with several of the American Drag Racing League's key event staff in tow to make sure things run smoothly.
"Just as they have in the States, the competitors and fans here in Qatar have taken to eighth-mile racing with great enthusiasm," Nowling said. "It's amazing to be half a world away and see the excitement for ADRL acing growing as fast as the leaf piles in my front yard back home!"
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