Former NHRA Pro Mod world champ Khalid Al-Balooshi put in extensive work over the off-season adapting to the new manual shifter in his Bahrain 1 Racing ProCharger-powered ’19 Camaro.
Through two qualifying sessions in Orlando, the early results are promising.
Al-Balooshi made the quickest run in both of the sessions, with his impressive blast of 5.659 at 251.25 during the second qualifying session leading the way.
Al-Balooshi estimated he made 30 runs with the manual shifter — which is now required in NHRA Pro Mod cars — in Bahrain in the off-season and he appears to have adjusted well.
Al-Balooshi said he was a little off during the first qualifier when he went 5.735 at 235.39, but he more than made up for it just a few hours later.
“Everything felt good. The first run, I missed the shifter,” Al-Balooshi said. “We’ve got some new stuff in the car and made a couple of good runs. In my opinion, we’re comfortable with the car, but I’m sure the other cars will be there (Sunday). I still don’t shift perfectly with the new (manual) shifter, but I’m more comfortable with it. Everybody will be fast (on Sunday), but we are ready. We changed some things around and I think we learned a lot over (in Bahrain).”
Jason Scruggs is currently second in qualifying after going 5.704 at 252.76 and Brandon Snider is a spot behind with a 5.745 at 250.46.
Scruggs made a solid run as the sun started to go down on Friday, but he knows the potential for more is there. He went 5.67 during testing on Thursday under the lights and believes it will take multiple passes in that range to win the $50,000 prize.
Scruggs ran well at the facility a year ago during the inaugural race, but with much cooler temperatures on deck for Saturday and then eliminations on Sunday, the veteran standout knows he will have to keep pushing.
“Truthfully, I felt like we can run better than we did that second run,” Scruggs said. “It was kind of in-between there, but Sunday is going to be a lot different. I think we’ve got a good combination and can go in the 5.60s, and that’s what it’s going to take to be successful. The ProChargers may have a bit of an advantage, but it’s still anybody’s race, and I feel like we can run with everybody.”
In Top Sportsman, Cheyenne Stanley went to the No. 1 spot with a 6.154-second pass in his twin-turbocharged ’07 Mustang. Mike Lubniewski followed in the No. 2 spot with his 6.201, with Derrick Brown going 6.211 in his ProCharger-boosted ’14 Camaro to round out the top 3 in the 27-car qualifying order.
The provisional low qualifier in Ray Skillman Auto Group Factory Shootout is Bill Skillman with a 7.78 at 178.24 in the Ray Skillman Ford Mustang Cobra Jet. Former Pro Stock star Mark Pawuk drove his Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to a 7.80 at 177 to qualify No. 2. John Cerbone ended up No. 2 in his Saw Mill Auto Sales Chevy COPO Camaro with a 7.831 at 177.39.
Record holder Jimmy Pelcarsky shot to the top of the $hameless Racing Pro 632 presented by C&C Pumping qualifying sheet in his small-block-powered ’15 Camaro with a 4.194 at 170.45. Wes Distefano took the No. 2 spot with a 4.204 at 171.29 in his nitrous-fed $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro. Florida’s own Dillon Voss is No. 3 with his 4.224 at 170.21 in the Voss-powered ’17 Corvette.
COMP ELIMINATOR & STOCK/SUPER STOCK
The 17-car Comp Eliminator field is topped by Joseph Arrowsmith of Ham Lake, Minnesota, in his ’06 Pontiac GTO.
In Strange Engineering Stock/Super Stock, Craig Gualtiere is the provisional No. 1 qualifier.
The second annual CTECH World Doorslammer Nationals presented by JEGS will continue Saturday with Q3 at 11 a.m. starting with Strange Engineering Stock/Super Stock, weather permitting. Eliminations begin at 12 p.m. on Sunday.