The biggest name in American drag racing is an unfamiliar one: Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani. The 22-year-old son of the emir of Qatar has a deep love of fast cars and even deeper pockets—his new team's budget is estimated at $10 million, reports the Wall Street Journal. "That's the ultimate sponsor, because he's the guy who loves drag racing and has unlimited funds," says one competitor.
The all-American world of cars that hit 300mph in 4 seconds might not seem the logical place for a Middle Eastern royal, but Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing has received a warm welcome. "It's a little nutty, but it's competition, and competition is good," says one owner-driver. "If someone from a foreign market is interested in our sport, I say, 'Come on in.'"