SPENCER MASSEY GRABS POLE FOR NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS
COMMERCE, Ga., – Spencer Massey secured his first number-one starting position of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season today for the 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
The driver of the Valvoline NextGen/FRAM Top Fuel dragster blasted into the pole position during Friday’s second qualifying round with a 3.825-second, 323.19-mile-per-hour pass, which held up during today’s final two sessions.
Massey’s first-round opponent is Pat Dakin, who he has faced once – and defeated - at the 2009 Norwalk race.
The 28-year-old Fort Worth native and resident continued his mastery of Atlanta Dragway where he has two poles and a final-round appearance in his two professional starts in this race.
“I love Atlanta. I love this race track,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “I’ve raced here twice in Top Fuel, been number one both times and went to the finals in 2009. And I had won here driving an alcohol dragster in 2007 and 2008.
“But last time, I lost to Morgan Lucas in an ugly final round. I would like to repeat getting to the finals, but this time seal the deal.”
Massey was one of the few drivers to have four solid qualifying runs during the hot, humid weather which challenged the nitro crew chiefs. He was sitting second after Friday’s first round on a 3.888/315.42 pass, and then moved around Del Worsham in the night run.
Saturday’s qualifying opened with a 3.923/314.83, fourth quickest lap, and closed with a 3.882/316.30, quickest of the round.
“Phil and Todd (Shuler and Okuhara, co-crew chiefs) and the NextGen/FRAM team have been giving me a great race car all year,” said the 2009 NHRA Top Fuel rookie of the year. “I just do my job and good things happen.
It’s an honor being back in a Top Fuel car again ...
“It’s an honor being back in a Top Fuel car again (he lost his ride after the 2009 season when his former team folded) and I can’t think of anything better than putting the NextGen/FRAM car in the winner’s circle.
“When I first got a Top Fuel ride, all I wanted was a Top Fuel win. When I got my first win, all I wanted was a championship. But I won’t be thinking of that or anything else except my first-round race when we get started tomorrow.”
Massey begins the race – 11 a.m. EDT – holding fifth place in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel standings, behind Worsham and Larry Dixon and his DSR teammates Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher.