• Apr 29, 2009
There are a number of parallels with an all-American tale of racing fan turned team owner: Man loves drag racing since boyhood, comes from a region crazy for the sport, started off in racing's little league, and races to win even in the big leagues. Yet the differences are enough to inform us that this is a Yankees tale, not an Oakland A's tale: the team owner in question is Qatari native Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani, all of 22 years old, with a bank account that would make Croesus blush.

When Al-Thani was ready to start a top-level drag racing team after owning outfits in the lower grades, he called Alan Johnson, who had run the five-time championship-winning Army dragster team. With the aim of turning Qatar into a dragster's paradise and an estimated $10 million per year budget for a two-car team (top fuel dragster and funny car), Johnson signed up for the challenge.

A top team spends about $4 million and up for the NHRA series, which could put Al-Thani even above the U.S. Army team's expenditure. Both teams are sixth in the standings right now, with Larry Dixon (dragster) and Del Worsham (funny car) behind the wheels, but with Al-Thani committed to doing – and spending – what it takes, he might just be the Steinbrenner of drag racing before long, for better or worse.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree with the above statement that all his race cars should be absolute BLING covered in gold & silver with white-wall slicks . The King of Cool . Hell , we can't hold it against him for loving the sport .
      • 5 Years Ago
      who cares about top fuel drag raceing any more they dont even go a 1/4 mile any more it sucks........
      • 5 Years Ago
      No, its the crew chief, Alan Johnson. Schumacher stayed with the Army team.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No mention of it in the article, but they are also running 3 Pro Mod cars as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure his parts suppliers are happy. Spend Al-Thani spend!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kind of sad seeing the Pontiac logo in that photo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      At which time the sport begins to atrophy and die because the other teams can't compete. Then, then non-competitive division goes away (ALMS GT1, for example), and there's a regression back to cheaper, more grassroots-based competition. It's all cyclical.
      • 5 Years Ago
      On your Yankees jab, Here's to 33 AL championships, and 26 WS Championships.

      The Yankees live in the largest, richest sports market, and take full advantage of it. Would like them better if they were more like the bumbling Knicks or Mets? They also share the market with very little results.
        • 5 Years Ago
        My poor friend, stop living in the past.

        200+ million payroll and one of the worst pitching staffs in all of baseball. They should feel ashamed right now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        With the way this season is going for the Yankees maybe you should just cut your losses and become a Mets fan. The Yankees franchise is in the past. By the way, good job on losing the first home game in the new stadium by the way, that one will go down for history.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's very interesting. For a region which hates the US...I was looking at pictures of Bahrain and the neighbourhoods look like carbon-copies of Californian/Texan cities. Spanish haciendas (spl?), Caddys, sidewalks, kids wearing Lakers jerseys, BBQs, malls...now drag-racing.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Not all countries in the region hate the US. Qatar is definitely a country that is not anti-american. Go back to watching CNN or Fox News and believe everything you see and hear.

        Sheikh Khalid, the Emir's son, loves anything that has to do with fast cars. I see this as only beneficial to the sport. If the people aren't happy about the money he puts into his team, then the spectators should complain to the NHRA officials about creating a spending cap.

        I was lucky enough to be on the plane with a few of the team members; very down to earth guys.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yours is a common misconception - you'd be surprised at how pro-US places like Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE are. Hence the similar living styles too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        When the US spends billions of dollars on their oil.....it's kinda hard to hold a grudge, lol.

        The anti-american sentiment comes mostly from the extremist, "have not's" of the population.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kinda of interesting article in the Wall street Journal, I got to wonder if he's interested in any other motorsports teams?
      • 5 Years Ago
      The US Army spends $4 million per year on drag racing? Really? REALLY? Hmm... Interesting.
        • 5 Years Ago
        typical leftist response of stupidity. learn to read in detail before showing off your ignorance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, the US Army sponsored team spends $4,000,000 a year, not the US Army spends $4,000,000 a year. They have much more than just the Army as their sponsor. Honestly though, is 4Mil a year that much for marketing in the grand scheme of things? Think about how much a 30 second commercial during the super bowl costs, and tell me spending that much on something tangible that is seen every weekend for 9 months a year by hundreds of thousands of people in person and who knows how many more on TV (granted it is on ESPN2, so probably what? 10 people watch it? hehe).

      • 5 Years Ago
      Why isn't the dragster be-dazzled in opulent bliss like every other (super) car we see from the middle east?
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL.
        Every culture and nationality has someone among them with very bad taste. Thank goodness Al-Thani isn't one of them.
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