Qatar Racing Club
Friday, February 11, 2011
Smith, Jenkins, Millen Among Standouts During Round Seven Qualifying t QRC
by Josh Hachat
DOHA, Qatar -- It was a pair of side-by-side runs that stole the show during Round Seven qualifying of the Arabian Drag Racing League at Qatar Racing Club (QRC).
With one coming in Pro Extreme between Matt Smith and Ali Aryan, and another in Pro Nitrous between Shannon Jenkins and Khalid Mohammed, a series of remarkable times were posted in Qatar on Thursday with this being the final race remaining before the championship-deciding event.
Smith went an incredible 3.593 at 211 miles per hour in Pro Extreme to take the top qualifying spot, while Aryan nearly kept up with a 3.62 at 207 mph to go to second in a fascinating side-by-side duel.
In Pro Nitrous, Jenkins continued his strong performance, backing up a Round Six victory with a career-best 3.803 at more than 197 mph to jump to No. 1. In the lane next to him, Mohammed went a personal-best as well with a 3.813 that puts him in third.
"We have really got this car where we want it, and last week we really proved it. That 3.803 run was great and we are fortunate that it was enough to put us No. 1,” Jenkins said. “We're just going to try to cap the weekend off with a win and hopefully carry some momentum into next week as we run for the championship."
There was plenty of momentum to be had from all four racers in those two races on what turned out to be an astonishing day of racing at QRC.
As usual, Pro Extreme featured a number of standout performances, led by Smith and Aryan.
Sandwiched between Jenkins and Mohammed in Pro Nitrous was points leader Khalid Al-Balooshi, who went 3.807 at 197 mph to stay right on the heels of the hard-charging Jenkins.
In Extreme 10.5, Dan Millen continued to turn heads, going 3.79 on Friday to put him comfortably ahead of Frankie Taylor’s 3.96.
“It’s really good air and the track was amazing as always,” Millen said. “We were happy to have a run like that.”
In Pro Extreme, J.R. Todd sits in third with a 3.62 and a total of seven drivers – Alex Hossler (3.648), Von Smith (3.654), Frankie Taylor (3.684) and Joshua Hernandez (3.687) — are in the 3.60s with Mike Stawicki currently sitting in eighth.
With one qualifying session remaining before eliminations on Friday, the entire eight-car field could be in the 3.60s.
But the story on Thursday was Smith, who is driving Al-Anabi Racing owner KH Al-Thani’s Camaro. He recorded his first official pass in the 3.50s, which amazingly came just more than two months after he started driving the car.
Jenkins’ career-best in Pro Nitrous came after his team changed motors between the second and third qualifying sessions.
The change obviously worked, putting the legendary “Iceman” in a good position for eliminations.
“It was a good run and one we’ve been looking for. We were pleased and the guys really worked hard to get that motor in there,” Jenkins said. “The track is great, too.”
Al-Balooshi nearly matched Jenkins, but tuner Brandon Switzer knows his driver’s early-season dominance doesn’t mean much this late in the year.
Jenkins and others have caught up, meaning the final two races will be memorable.
“Everybody’s just getting close and making really good runs,” Switzer said. “The competition is getting tight and everybody is running good numbers, so it’s going to make for some really good racing.”
In Pro Extreme Motorcycle, Mohd Borashid was No. 1 in qualifying with a 4.153.
Meshal Al-Saber is currently in second with a 4.169.