Spencer Massey Wins Top Fuel Ironman Six Days After Earning License Laurie Cannister (Alcohol Funny Car), Steven Macklyn (Nitro Funny Car), Jim Halsey (Pro Modified) and John Montecalvo (Pro Stock) also claim titles at season-opening Texas ...
Spencer Massey Wins Top Fuel Ironman Six Days After Earning License
Laurie Cannister (Alcohol Funny Car), Steven Macklyn (Nitro Funny Car), Jim Halsey (Pro Modified) and John Montecalvo (Pro Stock) also claim titles at season-opening Texas Nationals
(Marion, Texas; April 6, 2008) - Spencer Massey is not exactly new to this whole drag racing thing. The Fort Worth, Tex. resident has been driving in the A-Fuel ranks for the better part of four years, finishing as high as #3 in the world in NHRA competition. But when car owner Mitch King was looking for a driver for the Knoll Gas Nitro Jam season opener at San Antonio Raceway, Massey figured now was as good a time as any to take a step up. He earned his Top Fuel license in Houston six days prior to the event and headed to San Antonio Raceway.
Sunday afternoon he ended up in the last place he ever expected to be...the Winner's Circle after defeating Terry McMillen in the final round to claim the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals Ironman.
"This is an absolute dream come true," Massey said. "When we came here we were just worried about qualifying, then we just looked at things one round at a time. I have a really good team behind me and there really aren't any long-term plans. But then again who would have ever thought we'd leave the Texas Nationals with the points lead?"
Massey was able to take a nice, leisurely trip down the eight-mile in the final round. Terry McMillen broke after his burnout in the other lane before idling down the track.
Steven Macklyn (Salt Lake City, Utah) is another young driver who earned his first Ironman at the Texas Nationals. Macklyn captured the Knoll Gas - Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Funny Car Ironman by stopping defending World Champion Dale Creasy Jr. in the final round.
Macklyn clocked a 3.749 at 226.85 mph to top Creasy's tire-rattling 4.034/160.54 pass.
"I didn't even think about who was in the other lane...I'm not good enough to even look in the other lane yet. I just focus on the tree and hope I don't make any mistakes."
Macklyn defeated Jeff Diehl in the first round and Jack Wyatt in the semifinals to advance to face Creasy in the money run.
"I got a little lucky," Macklyn said. "I got out of the groove a little bit in the first round against Diehl but was able to drive past him, then I won a really good race against Jack. This is unbelievable."
Laurie Cannister (Johnstown, Ohio) made a mockery of the Alcohol Funny Car class all weekend, setting record after record en route to her first AFC Ironman of the season. She saved her worst run of the weekend for the final, but it made no difference as she knocked off Rob Atchison (London, Ont.) in the final round to garner her second career Alcohol Funny Car Ironman.
"Dale, my husband, does a great job getting this car ready to race," Cannister said. "He helps me so much and tells me what adjustments to make as the day goes by. I definitely could not do this without him."
Cannister claimed the Ironman with a 3.843 pass at 226.85 mph while Rob Atchison posted a 3.928/194.66 in the other lane.
The Torco Pro Modified final matched up a pair of nitrous-powered entries, the first time two nitrous Pro Mods squared off in a final round since 2005. Jim Halsey (Street, Md.) was able to drive past Billy Harper (Paducah, Ky.) in the final round to claim the Ironman.
"I think the eighth-mile really helped the nitrous cars today," Halsey said. "We were able to get down the track. The track was hot and a little tricky at the end but we got the job done."
Halsey ran a 4.104 at 184.52 mph to better Harper's 4.685/115.85 pass.
John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, N.Y.) is usually a strong starter. He has enjoyed early season success before, winning in Texas last year before heading to Rockingham and winning the second event of the season. He hopes that scenario plays out again as he defeated Jeff Dobbins (Wilmington, N.C.) in the Torco Pro Stock final in San Antonio.
"I just hope people are asking me about my late season success this season, not just my early wins," Montecalvo said with a chuckle. "We had a terrible weekend to start, qualifying was a mess and we weren't getting down the track. Then everything kind of came together."
Montecalvo was able to pull off a trick not many drivers can pull off in the final, defeating Dobbins, a notorious leaver, on a hole-shot. He had a .013 reaction time and ran a 4.186 at 173.18 mph. Dobbins left in .026 and clocked a 4.178 at 173.74.