BROWNSBURG, Ind. - - After Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon won the 40th annual AC Delco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. on March 15, team owner Alan Johnson traveled to Doha, Qatar to deliver the race-winner's trophy.

The trip was planned before the team won at Gainesville, but with Dixon's Top Fuel win, the trip became the perfect opportunity to deliver to trophy to team partner Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani. Johnson returned to the United States late Saturday night.

"It was cool to be able to give him the trophy in person," Johnson said. "He came to the hotel the first night we were there, and we gave him the trophy; it was great! He was definitely excited that we won a race in our third attempt because he knows how this sport works. Starting a team is one thing, but being competitive is completely different. We knew we could do it, but we didn't know how long it might take."

"I was glad to be able to congratulate Alan in person," Al Thani said. "I want to send out personal congratulations to everyone else at Alan Johnson Racing for providing us our first national event Top Fuel win at the Gainesville race. The ESPN television coverage is pleasing to see with the team performing so well. I appreciate the level of professionalism the team exudes at the events."

Johnson and team director of racing operations Chad Head originally scheduled the trip to Qatar to attend a race at the new track in Doha, Qatar in support of Al Thani, who was in California for the first race of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing event of the season when the inaugural race was run at the Doha track. Johnson and Head served in an advisory role for the Doha event.

"I am honored and excited to know that Alan can take time away from his schedule to come assist in the production of our second event in Qatar," Al Thani said. "Alan's wealth of knowledge on race days is second to none, and to have him extend a hand to help our staff was great. Our relationship is developing quickly; with help from Alan and Chad, we are creating the foundation of what we hope will become one of the world's premier racing facilities in the future. We hope this facility will draw people from all over the world to Qatar to experience Motorsports in the Arabian Gulf Region."

-credit: ajaar