MADISON, Ill. — Alan Johnson is really working at his next attempt at a World Championship.

The Al-Anabi chief has had his hands full in his attempt to keep his best Top Fuel dragster, driven by Shawn Langdon, atop the point standings.

Johnson, a Santa Maria native, and Langdon got Al-Anabi one step close to make sure all that work is going to pay off Saturday.

Langdon led the Top Fuel field in qualifying at the NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill.

Langdon also had the fastest run Friday with a 3.761 at 326.40 mph.

Langdon led the TF standings for nearly the entire season but Spencer Massey finished strong to start the Countdown to the Championship with the lead.

But coming into the weekend it was Langdon and Doug Kalitta tied up top, with 2,251 points apiece. Yet it’s still a real tight race. Massey is third with 2,249 points.

Langdon’s Al-Anabi teammate Khalid al-Balooshi is No. 9 in the standings with 2,097 points.

Langdon is paired against No. 16 qualifier Troy Buff (3.977, 286.92).  Massey qualified 14th and will face No. 3 Clay Millican today. Kalitta is No. 10 and is set to face No. 7 Morgan Lucas in today’s eliminations.

Allen Johnson, the driver not to be confused with Santa Maria’s Johnson, was fastest in Pro Stock Saturday. Hector Arana Sr. topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle lineup in the third of six races in the Countdown.

Points leader Matt Hagan took the No. 1 position in Funny Car.

Hagan’s track-record Friday run of 4.001 seconds at 320.20 mph in his Dodge Charger gave him his fifth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 15th of his career.

Johnson had the fastest run Friday with a 6.512 at 212.29 in his Dodge Avenger. Arana had a 6.796 at 198.58 on a Buell.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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