SPENCER MASSEY TAKES PROVISIONAL POLE ADDS TRACK SPEED RECORD ON QUALIFYING RUN
COMMERCE, Ga., May 13, 2011 – Brushing aside any Friday the 13th bad omens, Spencer Massey today blasted the Valvoline NextGen/FRAM Top Fuel dragster onto the provisional pole for the 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
The 28-year-old Fort Worth native and resident went around Del Worsham to the top of the field with a 3.825-second, 323.19-mile-per-hour pass – setting an Atlanta Dragway speed record – in the second qualifying session. He had been sitting second to Worsham after a first-round lap of 3.888 at 315.42. Worsham, who ran after Massey in the dark Georgia night, closed with a 3.828 at 320.05 to grab second.
According to Massey the pass was what co-crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler set up the car to run.
“I was a little concerned with our chances after so many cars smoked their tires following the long oil-down delay earlier in the round, but Todd and Phil have faith in their setups,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “And I have immense faith in Todd and Phil!
“I thought we could run an ’82 or even a ’79 in these conditions (cool track, cool air, no sun), but I just didn’t know if it would hold until Del made his run.
“I’m hopeful we can hold onto the number one spot after tomorrow and then maybe we can at least repeat what happened the last time I raced here.”
In 2009 Massey captured his first – and only – career pole position here and went on to the final round on race day before losing to Morgan Lucas.
“I like our chances to take it all the way this time, though,” he said. “The NextGen/FRAM team just keeps giving me a great car every race, one quite capable of taking a Wally.”
As for any thoughts about bad luck from either driving a green race car or competing on Friday the 13th, Massey laughs at both concepts.
“First of all, I was born on Friday the 13th, so I can’t consider that a bad day,” he explained. “As for the superstition of green being bad luck for a race car, well John Force has been very successful driving a green car, so how bad can it be?”