SPENCER MASSEY BLASTS INTO SEMIFINALS OF NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS
COMMERCE, Ga., – Spencer Massey drove the Valvoline NextGen/FRAM Top Fuel dragster to a seven-round solid weekend, reaching the semifinals today of the 31st annual NHRA Southern Nationals here at Atlanta Dragway.
The 28-year-old Fort Worth native and resident capped off the three days, which included achieving his first number-one-qualifying position, with a dramatic side-by-side race against Don Schumacher Racing teammate and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher.
Both left the starting line with identical .057-second reaction times and Schumacher edged Massey, who ran the 1,000 feet in 3.890 seconds at 315.93 miles per hour, at the finish line, with a 3.880-second, 318.32 mph run.
“We had three great runs today, but we came up a little short,” said the Don Schumacher Racing driver. “If we’re going to get beat by someone, might as well be “the Sarge (who then lost to the other DSR Top Fuel driver, Antron Brown, in the finals).”
“Overall, it was a great weekend – we qualified number one and followed with today’s runs.”
Massey’s Sunday began with a first-round 3.863 at 317.79 mph pass and victory over Pat Dakin, who ran 8.306 at 71.86. Next it was a 3.903 at 315.27 to oust Doug Kalitta, who posted a 3.919 at 312.93 lap and set up the crucial 1,000-foot trip against Schumacher.
“I didn’t see Tony until I got past the finish and shut off,” Massey said. “Drag racing is just a game of inches.
“We were totally pleased with the run. It was exactly what Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler, co-crew chiefs) wanted to run, and it was probably what they wanted to do (in the other lane) as well. I’ve said it before, will say it again and again – Todd and Phil, and the guys on the team, just keep giving me a great race car for every round.”
Getting down the track consistently remains the goal of the team, on race day as well as in qualifying.
“We wanted to go A to B and not beat ourselves,” explained Massey. “That’s what we did today and what we did in qualifying where we put four great runs together, despite difficult track and weather conditions, which really made it challenging for the crew chiefs.”
He opened Friday’s qualifying with a 3.888 at 315.42, good enough for second quickest of the round. During the nightcap, he ran a 3.825-second, 323.19-mph pass, which would put him on the pole for final eliminations.
Saturday Massey opened qualifying with a 3.923 at 314.03 pass and followed with a 3.882 at 316.30 in the fourth session.
“It was just a great weekend here in Georgia, but now it’s on to Kansas,” he said.
Massey, with 410 points, holds fifth position in the Top Fuel standings heading into the May 20-22 23rd annual NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka (Kan.). He trails Del Worsham, Brown, Larry Dixon and Schumacher (respectively).