UPDATED - KHALID alBALOOSHI DISQUALIFIED FROM NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS
UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM NHRA: 11:15 AM, EST - Khalid alBalooshi has been disqualified from the event for a technical infraction found on the turbo regulatory system during a post run tech inspection.
Originally posted 10-12-2019 - 11 AM, EST
I am not a cheater.
Those were the words of Khalid alBalooshi, a decorated Pro Modified racer who up until Friday evening, provisional No. 1 qualifier at the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, NC.
In a random tech inspection, Balooshi's 5.717, 256.89 run was thrown out, and NHRA disqualified him from participating in the event. NHRA has yet to provide details of the disqualifications, nor reveal the alleged infraction.
"They [NHRA] don't realize how much time and effort I make coming here to race," Dubai native Balooshi said. "Flying over here, showing up here to race. I leave a family, two kids I leave at home to come and do this. I am not a cheater.
"Personally, I don't need to go anywhere and cheat. I really don't know what to say beyond that."
A source close to the situation said the alleged infraction is related to a firmware violation.
"[NHRA] have been talking to [crewchief Brad Personette] about technical stuff," Balooshi said. "Brad has shown them everything he's done. We opened the laptop and showed [NHRA tech] what was happening. There's nothing against the rules. We didn't have any more boost, and we haven't run any crazy speeds."
Balooshi said his team, which runs under the Rickie Smith Racing banner, has been very open with NHRA officials.
"If you are doing something wrong, it will show up in two-to-three minutes," Balooshi said. "They were in it for five hours, calling, emailing, getting texts from I don't know who and Googling to find out what is going on.
"It took them five hours! If you're doing your business, and something is wrong, it shouldn't take five hours to figure out what is wrong."
Balooshi said no one has shown him what he has done wrong yet.
"They haven't been able to show me the proof," Balooshi said.
CompetitionPlus.com has inquired to the NHRA, the official reason for the disqualification, and whether or not a year-suspension is in the future. As of those this posting, those questions remain answered.
This is the second incident where Balooshi has had a run thrown out. In June, at the NHRA Heartland Nationals, Balooshi's provisional No. 1 pass was disallowed when NHRA's tech department deemed his and two other turbo racers being out of compliance on their ECU (Electronic Control Unit) firmware.