NHRA Rookie of Year Nominee Justin Humphreys Ready to Contend for Torco Racing Fuels Nationals Win As one of five nominees for this year's Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award (also known as NHRA's Rookie of the ...
NHRA Rookie of Year Nominee Justin Humphreys Ready to Contend for Torco Racing Fuels Nationals Win
As one of five nominees for this year's Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award (also known as NHRA's Rookie of the Year), Pro Stock driver Justin Humphreys thinks the time is right to begin swaying those casting ballots.
A victory in the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Oct. 5-7, would bring attention his way. The event is in a prime location for the Monrovia, Md., resident because it is less than a two-hour drive from home and there will be plenty of friends and family watching this weekend.
"It definitely is exciting to be one of the nominees for the award," said Humphreys, driver of the RaceRedi Motorsports/Knoll-Gas Energy Pontiac GTO. " It shows some people have been paying attention to us. I wish we would've had a better start to the season, but we have picked up our performance recently. Our goal is to win at least one of the last three races."
He qualified a career-high fifth for the Dallas race (Sept. 23) and advanced to the quarterfinal round before a faulty transmission sidelined him. But team consultant Bob Glidden, a 10-time Pro Stock champion and 85-race winner, and the crew made transmission repairs that should enable him to make the necessary shifts without interruption at VMP's quarter-mile track. "We are going to test at Maryland International Raceway (Budds Creek, Md.) Tuesday and Wednesday to work on some new parts we are trying," Humphreys added.
He couldn't get the car to shift into second gear on his quarterfinal run at Dallas after he bolted to a quick lead with a near-perfect .003-second reaction time against Allen Johnson. "We had a good car there and it was disappointing," Humphreys, 30, recalled. "The same thing happened earlier in the year at Norwalk (Ohio). We want to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"This is the last of the races this year that are close to our home," he continued. "I hope we have a good race, qualify well and win some rounds before our home fans. The track is pretty fast so it should be exciting."
The former Sport Compact and Nopi series driver has been to two semifinal rounds this season in the highly-competitive Pro Stock category. His performances began improving when the team signed with veteran engine builder Richard Maskin early in the campaign, and Maskin, in turn, brought in Glidden to find the tuning consistency needed to win rounds and, ultimately, races.
The other nominees for the Road to the Future award include Ashley Force (Funny Car), Craig Hankinson (Pro Stock), Barry Henson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and Matt Scranton (Pro Stock). The winner will announced at the annual awards ceremony Nov. 5 in Los Angeles.
Only races at Las Vegas (Oct. 28) and Pomona, Calif. (Nov.4) remain after the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals.