The hottest drag racer is from…the U.A.E.?

In 2011, drag racing has a new up-and-coming star, who has dominated internationally as well as the early stages here in the United States. The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) Khalid Al-Balooshi won the first two meets of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Get Screened America Pro Mod Series, plus the first Pro Nitrous race of the American Drag Racing League's (ADRL) season opener. All of this after just winning this winters Arabian Drag Racing League championship (the other ADRL).

Drag racing has many stars who come and go - sort of shooting stars, so-to-speak. Whether Al-Balooshi is one of those shooting stars remains to be seen, but his exploits recently have been quite dominating. Even though it's not as extensive, international drag racing is big in such places as Europe and Australia but the Mideast is no exception, thanks in-part to the regions interest in motorsports. From the Emirates to Bahrain to Qatar, drag racing in the Mideast is bigger than ever and Khalid Al-Balooshi seems to be the new star from that region.

Khalid Al-Balooshi

Money helps but …

Al-Balooshi won a dominating four out of seven events in the Arabian version of the ADRL. An amazing fete anywhere! He owns both world records in the 1/8 mile for Pro Nitrous with a 3.803 elapsed time and a speed of 199.35 miles per hour. About 200 mph in the eighth mile is astounding to think about when you consider this is a doorslammer (has doors). His team (Al-Anabi) is owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, which obviously helps when needing deep pockets. As I've said in the past, money is the key but to win consistently it takes talent.

It would be one thing to win on the international scene but when you need to prove yourself, you must come to America. And that's not to say he hadn't already beaten some of America's best (Shannon Jenkins and Mike Castellana to name two) who were competing in the Arabian Drag Racing League. The U.A.E.'s Khalid Al-Balooshi has also done great in the American version of the ADRL; but then you say, to beat the best of the best, the NHRA is where you have to end up, to truly be considered, well, the best. That's what Al-Balooshi has done … so far. Let's see what a whole season of NHRA Pro-Mod will bring.

So, might we have our first international champion here in the U.S.? Time will tell but certainly the Emirates' own Al-Balooshi has shown so far that he has what it takes, whether it's there or here.

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Updated Tuesday, Apr 5, 2011