BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 9, 2012) - Spencer Massey came close to winning the pole for the U.S. Nationals, and after a rain delay came just as close to winning the most prestigious event title in drag racing.
At least Massey and Don Schumacher Racing's Prestone/FRAM Top Fuel team were able to earn $100,000 for winning the inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Sept. 1 at Lucas Oil Raceway before rain washed out the next two days of racing forcing a second weekend of racing at the track outside of Indianapolis.
Massey advanced to the championship round Sunday but lost to DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, who won the title in his U.S. Army ROTC dragster for the ninth time.
"All in all it was a good weekend for us," Massey said. "Just qualifying here for the 16-car field when 27 cars were trying to make the show was an accomplishment. This is the first time I've made the final round here but losing hurts a little less considering it was to a teammate.
"We would have loved to have won the race but we're going rounds. We really wanted that U.S. Nationals trophy, but we'll have to wait until next year."
Massey finished second to DSR teammate Antron Brown, whom he beat in the semifinals, in the standings after 17 events and will trail Brown by 30 points when points are reset to start the Countdown to the Championship next weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMAX Dragway at Concord, N.C.
"The points wouldn't have mattered had we beat Tony because we were locked into second place," said Massey, who finished second in the championship race last year. "The Countdown is going to be a lot of fun."
(See below for details on the Countdown.)
The following are Massey's results from the U.S. Nationals and other notes:
Winner: Tony Schumacher (DSR)
No. 1 qualifier: Shawn Langdon (Al-Anabi Racing), 3.740 sec., 326.48 mph.
Spencer Massey, Prestone/FRAM dragster
Qualified: No. 2
1st round: MASSEY (3.811 sec., 322.88 mph) def. Clay Millican (3.881, 312.13)
2nd round: MASSEY (3.802, 323.58) def. alBalooshi (3.816, 319.98)
Semifinals: MASSEY (3.807, 315.64) def. Antron Brown (3.829, 313.07)
Final: Tony Schumacher (3.806, 315.34) def. MASSEY (3.828, 319.37)
FRIDAY (Aug. 31) QUALIFYING
Session 1: 5.984 sec., 103.69 mph
SATURDAY (Sept. 1) QUALIFYING
Session 2: 3.815, 323.74 (Traxxas Shootout first-round win)
Session 3: 3.762 sec., 324.51 mph (Shootout semifinals win; track elapsed-time record)
Shootout final: 3.780, 325.61 (does not count toward qualifying)
SATURDAY (Sept. 8) QUALIFYING
Session 4: 3.825, 317.42
Session 5: 3.927, 247.34
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The fields are set for each of the four Full Throttle professional categories heading to the six-event Countdown to the Championship.
The points will be reset at 10-point increments for the Countdown contestants and the points leaders after Indy, which was the 17th event of the year, getting 20-point bonus so they will start the Countdown with 30-point leads in Top Fuel (Antron Brown), Funny Car (Ron Capps), Pro Stock (Allen Johnson) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (Eddie Krawiec).
Only the top-10 drivers can contend for season championships but all drivers entered in the last six events will contend with Countdown drivers for event points and titles. The best season finish for non-Countdown driver can be 11th.
SIX IN A ROW
Postponing the U.S. Nationals by one week means the Full Throttle series will now race on five consecutive weekends beginning next weekend with the first race in the Countdown at zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway at Concord, N.C.
Factoring in last week's rainout it actually means teams will have competed six straight weekends.
NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(Unofficial through Sept. 9, 2012, U.S. Nationals; DSR in CAPS)
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
1. ANTRON BROWN, 1,413
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 1,378
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 1,321
4. Steve Torrence, 1,171
5. Doug Kalitta, 1,105
6. Morgan Lucas, 1,002
7. Shawn Langdon, 956
8. Brandon Bernstein, 849
9. David Grubnic, 841
10. Bob Vandergriff, 696
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
(Points reset for 6-event Countdown; DSR IN CAPS)
1. ANTRON BROWN, 2,110 (Includes 20 points for finishing first in regular season)
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 2,080
3. TONY SCHUMACHER, 2,070
4. Steve Torrence, 2,060
5. Doug Kalitta, 2,050
6. Morgan Lucas, 2,040
7. Shawn Langdon, 2,030
8. Brandon Bernstein, 2,020
9. David Grubnic, 2,010
10. Bob Vandergriff, 2,000
Sept. 14-16, zMAX Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C.
FRAM Group LLC has its headquarters in Perrysburg, Ohio. Its leading automotive care products include FRAM® oil, air, transmission and fuel filters; Autolite® spark plugs and ignition wire sets; Prestone® antifreeze/coolant and car care products; and Holts® car care. It maintains R&D capabilities in the United States and Europe and has a manufacturing footprint in 10 countries worldwide.
About Don Schumacher Racing
Don Schumacher Racing, headquartered in Brownsburg, Ind., consists of seven professional NHRA teams: in Top Fuel, the U.S. Army dragster driven by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, the FRAM/Prestone dragster of Spencer Massey and the Matco Tools dragster of Antron Brown; and in Funny Car, 2011 NHRA Funny Car champion Matt Hagan in the Aaron's Dream Machine/Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, Valvoline NextGen Dodge piloted by Jack Beckman, the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge of Ron Capps and the Service Central Dodge of Johnny Gray. DSR has won 191 NHRA national event titles and nine world championships.
Follow Don Schumacher Racing at ShoeRacing.com, on Twitter at @shoeracing and Facebook.com/shoeracing.
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