It’s 2015 and the Burkster has been wondering around

Just Wondering… Is anyone really surprised that Sheikh Khalid al Thani pulled the plug on his US racing operations?

They shouldn’t be.

Alan Johnson and his teams accomplished what the Sheikh hired him to do. The Al-Anabi Racing Team won NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world championships in 2010, ’11, and ’13. The team also won 42 races in the last six seasons with drivers Larry Dixon, Del Worsham, Shawn Langdon, and Khalid alBalooshi.

His Pro Mod teams have dominated that class as well.

The fact that the Sheikh reportedly didn’t attend a single NHRA race in 2014 is a good indicator of his waning enthusiasm for NHRA nitro drag racing. As a team owner he had nothing left to prove or gain by continuing to spend $5,000,000 or more a year.

During the five years that Alan Johnson was team manager for Al-Anabi Racing beginning in 2009, all that was required from the teams were to race and win NHRA championships, which he did. There were no displays or showing sponsors a good time at the races that most sponsors require of their race teams. It was the best of both worlds for Johnson.

Maybe the royal family of Qatar doesn’t have the disposable income to devote to drag racing while they are spending billions of dollars getting the country ready to host the 2024 World Cup Soccer games.

Whatever the reasons for Al-Anabi Racing USA not renewing their sponsorships of U.S. racers, a lot of professional drag racers owe a debt of gratitude to Sheikh Khalid al Thani for the time and money he spent supporting U.S. drag racing and some of its racers for the past decade!

Just Wondering… Are the “pay to race” programs that NHRA Pro Mod and IHRA Pro Stock racers and team owners have agreed to just the tip of the iceberg? I could see the NHRA, IHRA, and PDRA management in the future applying that business model to any new or current class they have where the entry fees don’t cover the sanctioning organization’s expenses to run the class. I’m guessing that the cancelling of the PDRA’s Pro Stock class was a result of this new direction in drag racing.

Just Wondering… Will the price of gas/diesel fuel selling at about 50% less per gallon in 2015 than it was for most of 2014 have a positive affect on spectator and car counts at NHRA, IHRA, and PDRA national events? I’m betting it will and that the NHRA Winternationals will have the biggest fields and spectator count in a decade. I’m also betting the March Meet at Bakersfield will have record car and spectator attendance this year.

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