LAS VEGAS - Spencer Massey had the opportunity to capitalize in a big way on Sunday during the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
But by a margin of two-hundredths of a second, Massey's day came to an end too early in the second round of eliminations.
Massey and the team began licking their chops when rookie driver Khalid alBalooshi of the Al-Anabi Racing team defeated Brown in the opening round, opening the door for the FRAM team to make up ground.
"We were really happy with our qualifying," Massey said. "We gained a lot of points just through qualifying. Obviously we got a little extra after the first round but we wanted to capitalize on the situation that we were in."
After Massey knocked out first round opponent T.J. Zizzo, he was paired against Bob Vandergriff. Under sunny skies and the warmest conditions of the weekend, Massey came up just short against Vandergriff, whose 3.85-second time was enough to defeat Massey's 3.87 elapsed time.
"We weren't able to (capitalize) and that's unfortunate," he said. "It is what it is. Mathematically we still have a shot in Pomona. We just have to get after it and go out and try and have fun.
"If things fall the right way we can still win the championship. If Antron does well, he can win it. If we do well, we can win it. If Tony does well, he can win it. There are so many different scenarios; I'm not even going to think about it. I'm just going to try to win Pomona."
Massey says he won't be thinking about it, but he already has a plan to mimic DSR teammate Tony Schumacher's "The Run" in 2006, when he set the national record, won the final round and earned the championship.
"If we qualify in Pomona like we did here, we can make up almost another round of racing. So there's always that shot. There are different scenarios. It's not over until it's over. We've seen Tony Schumacher make 'The Run' and win the race, set the record and get the championship. It's NHRA drag racing. You've got to keep your eyes on it because it's an awesome show."
The following are Massey's results, points standings and other event information from the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals.
Event winner: Bob Vandergriff
Spencer Massey, FRAM/Prestone dragster
First round: MASSEY (3.809, 325.14) def. Zizzo (4.258, 208.17)
Second round: Vandergriff (3.851, 321.42) def. MASSEY (3.873, 322.34)
NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(unofficial through Oct. 28)
(* mathematically eliminated from championship contention)
|TOP FUEL||Pts.||Pts. Behind|
|1. ANTRON BROWN||2,522||--|
|2. TONY SCHUMACHER||2,457||-65|
|3. SPENCER MASSEY||2,452||-70|
|4. Shawn Langdon||2,406||-116|
|*5. Brandon Bernstein||2,346||-176|
|*6. Doug Kalitta||2,309||-213|
|*7. Morgan Lucas||2,299||-223|
|*8. Steve Torrence||2,265||-257|
|*9. Bob Vandergriff||2,264||-258|
|*10. David Grubnic||2,225||-297|
Source: Don Schumacher Racing