BROWNSBURG, Ind. (May 1, 2012) – Spencer Massey shrugged his shoulders and said it didn’t bother him that he no longer was the Top Fuel points leader after Sunday’s racing in the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.
“Whatever. Sure, you always want to be first but it’s a long season and we’re only disappointed that we weren’t first today,” Massey said Sunday of his Prestone/FRAM team.
“We’re ready for Atlanta. I’m glad it’s next week.”
The 29-year-old Texan sure is eager to head for Commerce, Ga., and this weekend’s NHRA Southern Nationals. Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta, holds special memories for him.
He won his first NHRA national event title there in 2007 driving a 270-mph Top Alcohol Dragster and returned the following year to win it again. As a Top Fuel rookie driving for legend Don “Snake” Prudhomme, Massey advanced to the championship round where he lost to Morgan Lucas.
A year ago, he was the No. 1 qualifier at Atlanta before losing in the semifinals.
“For whatever reason, Atlanta likes me and I like Atlanta,” he said.
“Sometimes you shine at some tracks and others you don’t. It’s the luck of the draw in a way. It has nothing do with tune-up or whatever you might think, that’s just how it works.”
It’s worked that way at several tracks this year for Massey, who is second in points to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown. Brown eliminated Massey in the second round Sunday in the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston.
Two weeks before Houston at an NHRA event near Charlotte, N.C., Massey won his second straight NHRA event title and third of the season.
He also set an NHRA national speed record in the championship round with a run of 332.18 mph and recorded two of the sport’s three 330-mph runs over the weekend since NHRA shortened the racing distance by 320 feet to 1,000 feet. His DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, however, beat him to the 330-mph milestone by a few minutes with a speed of 330.23 in the first round in which Massey followed with a 330.55 in the first round.
With temperatures forecast to be between 90 and 92 this weekend it’s unlikely atmospheric conditions will allow for any record-breaking runs, but even those 330s near Charlotte weren’t on the “to-do” list for Massey or crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler.
“Records are nice but we only focus on going rounds,” Massey said. “Winning rounds gets you championships.”
Massey, whose elimination rounds record is 14-3 this year, has won a lot at Atlanta and he hopes history repeats this weekend.
AT ATLANTA 2011
Qualified No. 1; Lost in semifinals to Tony Schumacher.
PRO CAREER AT ATLANTA
Runner-ups: 1 (2009)
Poles: 1 (2011)
SPORTSMAN CAREER AT ATLANTA
Wins: 2 (Top Alcohol Dragster 2007, 2008)
(Updated through Spring Nationals near Houston; 6th of 23 events)
2012 Pts W Rups Poles DNQ Win/Loss
Spencer Massey 2nd 3 1 0 0 14-3
2011 Pts Ws Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
Spencer Massey 2nd 4 4 2 1 45-17
Career Titles Rup Poles DNQ Win/Loss
Spencer Massey 9 7 3 2 91-43
2012 NHRA FULL THROTTLE STANDINGS
(Through six of 23 events; DSR drivers capitalized)
1. ANTRON BROWN, 535
2. SPENCER MASSEY, 523
3. Morgan Lucas, 505
4. TONY SCHUMACHER, 497
5. Shawn Langdon, 348
6. Steve Torrence, 343
7. Doug Kalitta, 313
8. Bob Vandergriff, Jr. 300
9. David Grubnic, 259
10. Clay Millican, 258
SOUTHERN NATIONALS NITRO SCHEDULE
Thursday – Noon, Ron Capps throws ceremonial first pitch at Turner Field for Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves game
Friday – 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., qualifying
Saturday – 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., qualifying
Sunday – 11 a.m., championship eliminations
Qualifying: 7-9 p.m. ET, Saturday (delayed)
Eliminations: 7-10 p.m., ET, Sunday (delayed)
Friday: High of 90, partly cloudy
Saturday: High of 90, partly cloudy
Sunday: High of 92, partly cloudy
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