QATAR UPDATES: HOSSLER, CASTELLANA, TUTTEROW ON TOP AGAIN!
Illinois star Alex Hossler continued his performance rampage in Pro Extreme Eliminator and secured the top qualifying position after Thursday's three qualifying rounds for the fourth event of the 2013 Arabian Drag Racing League International Championships at the Qatar Racing Club track near the capitol city of Doha. The freight train which is Sheikh Khalid al-Thani's new Jerry Bickel Race Cars-built Al Anabi '69 Camaro scored bonus series championship points by resetting its own Arabian World Elapsed Time record and barely missed the World Speed Record, as well.
Less than twenty-four hours after recording the quickest and fastest eight-mile run in passenger car history at 3.518 seconds at 215.68 miles per hour during testing, Hossler found himself qualified second behind nemesis and current series point leader, Frankie "Mad Man" Taylor. In the warmest conditions experienced yet during the six-week series, (82 degrees, a corrected elevation of 1200 feet above sea level and a 105-degree racing surface), Hossler wheeled the Al Anabi Camaro to a 3.574/213.13 which trailed Taylor's 3.564/212.93 and was only barely ahead of Von Smith's 3.576/212.06. When conditions improved for the second qualifying period, crewchief Frank Manzo tweaked the maroon Chevy to a 3.549/213.98. In "air" of only 300 feet above sea level under the QRC lights in the day's final qualifying opportunity, Hossler rocketed to the third quickest and fourth fastest run ever, a 3.532 at 214.35 mph, to pace the field. The speed was a mere seven hundredths of a mile-per-hour from Taylor's current 214.42 record.
The consistency of Hossler's new ride is a testament to the efforts of Manzo, consultant Billy Stocklin and chassis tuner Rickie Smith. Not counting the mechanical failure which cost the team a chance for their second series win in the final round on February 1, the supercharged Al Anabi Camaro has now produced a staggering sixteen consecutive runs of 3.583 seconds or quicker since January 23.
Taylor, whose yellow Jeffers Race Cars 2006 Corvette briefly held the title of World's Quickest Passenger Car this week after a tremendous 3.529/213.50 in testing, quickly fell from grace after his initial 3.56 pass. In the second qualifying session, the popular Texan carded the best sixty-feet elapsed time of the day, (0.895 seconds), before a wild and squirrelly pass which resulted in a shut-off 3.78 at only 187 mph. In the great conditions of the evening session, Taylor lined up with Hossler but, for the second time in a week, broke a supercharger driveshaft and coasted to stop just off the starting line.
Taylor's team, consisting of brother Paul and wife Cindy, replaced the shaft and elected to make a test pass after qualifying was completed. In conditions only slightly better than those of the final qualifying session, Taylor launched with a decidedly off-pace 0.915 "sixty" but covered the first 330 feet in 2.385 seconds, only one hundredth of a second from the 330-feet ET on his 3.529), but the Corvette's engine dropped an intake valve just before the finish line and "banged" the supercharger. Taylor was stunned to find out the run still yielded a 3.540 at 212.63 mph! The "backhalf" on the pass, (the elapsed time between the 330-feet mark and the 660-feet finish line), of 1.155 seconds was only one thousandth of a second slower than his career-best even with the engine losing power before the finish line. The fact the "sixty" on the run was a full two hundredths of a second slower than on his earlier effort shows, if the best increments of both were were consolidated, Taylor's test run indicates the potential for a 3.520 clocking. After disassembling the engine to determine the extent of the damage, the team decided to install their "back-up" powerplant, (which has already produced multiple 3.5-seconds runs during the series), and rebuild the wounded bullet after eliminations are completed.
Von Smith, in Howard Moon's Bickel-built Al Anabi "Rage" '69 Camaro, sat out the second qualifying session while Moon tended to a valvetrain issue. For the final period, Moon introduced a bit more power but Tennessee driver Smith encountered enough tire shake to determine the run would not be an improvement and shut down well before half-track. The Al Anabi Garrett Race Cars-built '69 Yenko Camaro being driven by Floridian Joey Martin skated all over the track in the first qualifying session but, after a changing the torque converter in the car's automatic transmission, returned to hit vastly improved 3.65/209.75 and 3.62/212.06 efforts to qualify on the bump spot of the four-car field,
Although there is a fourth and final qualifying session before eliminations begin on Friday, Hossler's new ET Record has narrowed Taylor's lead in the series point championship to a single round going into Friday's fourth of five events.
Multi-time World Champion Mike Castellana waged all-out war with Bahrain's Khalid Abdulla through three qualifying sessions in Pro Nitrous Eliminator. Castellana's RJ Race Cars-built Al Anabi 2013 Camaro opened the first session with a 3.826/196.96 which led the eight-car field by three hundredths of a second. Abdulla's red E-Kanoo '69 Camaro, one of the quickest quarter-mile nitrous oxide-injected cars in the world with a best of 5.82/242 in its home country, sat out last week's event and didn't appear on Thursday until the second session. When Abulla's first run of 3.821/198.58 knocked Castellana to second, the New Yorker responded with a 3.804/197.25. In the final qualifying period, Abdulla blasted to a 3.785/199.11 to become the second quickest and fastest driver of the series, but crewchief Shannon Jenkins applied his notorious tuning "touch" to the Western Beef Chevy and Castellana unleashed a 3.752 at a booming 200.08 mph, his third "double century" pass of the series. Castellana's performance would indicate the "directional issues" which plagued the new car during last week's event have been cured.
The rest of the Pro Nitrous field included last week's winner, Khalid al-Balooshi of the United Arab Emirates in the blue-and-silver SpeedTech '68 Camaro, (3.803/198.73), UAE racer Sultan al-Zaabi in the blue Qatar Racing Club '68 Camaro, (a series-best 3.826/194.66), Qatar's Mahana al-Naemi in the orange-and-blue SpeedTech '68 Camaro, (3.845/196.59), South Carolina's Stevie "Fast" Jackson in the burgundy Al-Anabi '69 Camaro, (3.850/192.41), Kuwait's Bader Khourshid in his blue-and-white Bickel '69 Camaro, (a series-best 3.941/192.36), and series newcomer Turki al-Hamaidi from Kuwait debuting his striking new blue 2013 Camaro on the bump spot, (4.149/177.04).
North Carolina's Todd Tutterow also set an Arabian Elapsed Time Record on Friday and the new mark may have given Tutterow enough points to wrap up the series championship. Wheeling the Al-Anabi supercharged 2010 Corvette which set the Outlaw 10.5 Eliminator ET record last week at 4.011 seconds, Tutterow took the standard to a 4.003 at 192.63 which, (unofficially), gives Tutterow a five-and-a-half round lead with only six rounds of competition remaining in the series. An earlier 4.03/191.46 backed-up the mark as Tutterow inched closer to a three-second run during actual competition when the Outlaw 10.5 entries are weighed to ensure compliance with the 3000-pound class minimum.
Tim Lynch, who set the Outlaw 10.5 speed record at 198.52 on January 24 while driving the Al Anabi supercharged '99 Mustang but has since had his own ProLine Racing Engines turbocharged 2010 Corvette shipped to Qatar for competition, ran a best of 4.07/190.35 to qualify second. The star of the class and, indeed, Friday's entire qualifying program, was David Hance. The New Yorker spent the entire day driving out of monstrous half-track powerstands; although he is officially qualified third with a 4.25/193.43, his best run came when his turbocharged Al Anabi '93 Mustang ran 4.13/174.14 while carrying the front end across the centerline at the 600-feet mark!
Billy Vose stunned the Pro Extreme Motorcycle contingent with an unearthly 4.011 at 176.70 mph to lead point rival Meshal al-Saber's similar Suzuki Hayabusa, (4.077/175.80). Ironically, Vose's MRB teammate, Mohammed Bourshid, also clocked a best of 4.077 but at a slower speed of 173.70. However, al-Saber's potent 1.8-liter powerplant died a fiery death during his final qualifying attempt. In the "no wheelie bars" Super Street Motorcycle Eliminator, Vose's other Kuwaiti MRB teammate, Yaqoub al-Ali, put his Suzuki atop the field at 4.44/165.56 while record holder Saudi Arabian Mishari al-Turki, (4.511/170.71), and Qatar's Mohammed al-Darwish, (4.517/171.05), were close behind. The five week-long battle continued between Kuwait's Mesfer al-Mesfer and Saudi Arabian Ibrahim al-Joufi in Street Bike Eliminator. The two were never separated by more than one hundredth of a second throughout qualifying with al-Mesfer leading al-Joufi in the sixteen-bike field, 5.355/137.40 to 5.367/136.65.
Top Sportsman Eliminator, a "heads-up" category in the Arabian series with entries regulated to fully automatic transmissions and tire size limitations, found Khalil al-Ansari's UAE nitrous-injected burgundy RSG High Performance/SpeedTech '68 Firebird clocking yet another 3.970 coupled to a 187.26 mph speed to pace the eight-car field by more than a tenth of a second. UAE pilot Emad al-Qenaei's black '95 Chevy Cavalier is second at 4.081/179.66.
In the 4.50-second Index division of Top Sportsman entries, Bahrain's Ali Hussein Haji put together a "package" of thirteen-thousandths of a second on the final qualifying session to put his red Al Anabi '63 Stingray at the front with a 4.504/145.03.
Stevie "Fast" Jackson waited until cool air of the final session to make his first qualifying effort in Super Street (True 10.5-inch tire) Eliminator and, with one run, the South Carolinian's orange ProCharger-equipped Mustang went to the top of the division with an astonishing all-over-the-place 4.320 at 181.15 mph to break his own 4.34/180 class records, As usual, his closest competition is UAE racer Abdullah al-Shatti, whose purple turbocharged '87 Mustang clocked a best of 4.53/178.83.
The Super Street six-cylinder division was rocked by the midweek test pass by Ali al-Hosani's UAE Nissan at 4.778/170.84 but it was Bahrain's Mohammed Haji whose Mazda RX7 made waves during official qualifying to lead the eight-car field at 4.782/151.90.
The Al-Anabi Dragsters category, in which a field of Reher-Morrison Chevy-powered Mullis-chassised dragsters compete on a 4.80 Index, is currently an absolute free-for-all as no less than three drivers, the UAE's Mohammed Abdulla, Saudi racer Hassan al-Oraini and Qatar's Nasser al-Suwaidi, (each finalists already in the series), ran 4.804 seconds.
The final qualifying session and eliminations for the fourth event in the 2013 Arabian Drag Racing League International Championship event will be held Friday, February 8. Competition Plus will present updates and complete coverage.
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