Frank Manzo wasn’t necessarily concerned with numbers on Friday, though that proved to be a nice touch as well.
At least during qualifying, the legendary tuner/driver wanted to get KH Al-Thani comfortable again in his powerful Pro Extreme car.
Al-Thani hasn’t driven since the ADRL’s season-opening race at Royal Purple Raceway in March, but on Friday it didn’t look like he had missed a beat.
Competing in the Kansas National Guard Independence Drags V at Heartland Park Topeka, Al-Thani was the No. 3 qualifier after Friday’s three qualifying sessions, going an impressive 3.726 at 205.04 miles per hour, which was just off the track speed record.
By all accounts, it was an ideal performance for Al-Thani after not racing for the past three months.
“I’m just happy the car went down the track,” Manzo said. “I was probably more nervous than anybody. We wanted to give him a car that he can drive and be comfortable with, so we’re pretty happy with what we’ve done so far.”
Manzo and Al-Thani tested in Indianapolis leading up to the race, but they went just 330 feat in order to help Al-Thani get re-acclimated with his PX car.
Al-Thani seemed as good as ever on Friday and was the No. 1 qualifier for the first two sessions before Gaylen Smith and Frankie Taylor both went in the 3.60s under the lights in Topeka.
Manzo knows Al-Thani will have to get there, too, for him to have any chance of winning, but the team made the proper steps in qualifying at HPT, setting the stage for what could be a memorable Saturday.
“We just want to keep giving him a car he can drive,” Manzo said.
(Photo by ADRL/Richards)