Khalid Disqualified from E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod at Carolina Nationals
For the second time during the 2019 E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Racing Series, veteran drag racer Khalid alBalooshi of Bahrain 1 Racing had his run thrown out. This is another post-qualifying incident where Balooshi's Bahrain 1 racecar failed technical inspection at a NHRA-sanctioned E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod event. In June, at the NHRA Heartland Nationals, Balooshi's provisional Number One pass in qualifying was disallowed when NHRA's tech department deemed his turbo (as well as two other racers running turbochargers) as being out of compliance on their Electronic Control Unit (ECU) firmware.
Although the competition committee did not immediately release the specifics of Balooshi's disqualification from the Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, sources close to the situation believed the alleged infraction had to be related to firmware like the violation that happened earlier this year. Crew chief Brad Personett, who is a renowned twin-turbo innovator, told Drag Illustrated that the blame should fall on his shoulders. According to the veteran tuner, the turbos used in Pro Mod today are simply too big for the starting line blast, especially now that the doorslammers use a torque converter and not a clutch.
Personett admitted that it has been a season-long challenge to maintain consistent boost levels with today's twin-turbocharged engines. However, NHRA technical officials discovered an unregulated air hose running to the atmosphere side of Balooshi's turbocharger wastegate. Athough the engine's boost pressure numbers fell within legal ranges, NHRA officials believe the added line allowed Balooshi's engine to create a more consistent boost throughout the entire run by way of the unofficial part. Balooshi's crew chief did show the innovative solution to a select group of Pro Mod race teams and fellow drivers.
A former world champion, Khalid alBalooshi had recorded his first victory of the 2019 NHRA Pro Mod series with a win at the Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in June at the eighth event of the 12-race schedule. It was alBalooshi's second win at Norwalk, with his first victory coming in the premier NITRO division piloting a Top Fuel dragster. The veteran driver from Bahrain will have to wait for the NHRA to determine whether they will levy penalties for being out of compliance in the post-tech inspection. Virtually any penalty handed down would end Balooshi's 2019 season in E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division.