When Top Fuel standout Spencer Massey pulls to the starting line at Texas Motorplex, he will so with plenty of familiarity and plenty of confidence.
Massey has frequented the sport’s first super track since he was 13 years old and the Fort Worth, Texas native feels more at home at Texas Motorplex than just about any track in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
The only thing left for Massey to do at the track is take his 8,000-horsepower Battery Extender/Schumacher Electric Top Fuel dragster to the winner’s circle, and he will get that opportunity at the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Sept. 19-22 at the famed all-concrete dragstrip located south of Dallas. It marks the 20th of 24 events in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the second of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Last season, defending world champion Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned victories at the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2 HD.
Massey had one of the best views of Brown’s win racing against him in the final round. It marked the second straight final round appearance at the event, which leads Massey, currently second in the Top Fuel points standings, to believe he’s on the cusp of winning at the legendary track.
“I would love to finally get that Wally at Texas Motorplex and wear that cowboy hat they give to the winners,” Massey said. “The last two years it came down to the last run and I would love to be in that position again.
“When you roll under the tower and to the starting line, it can be pretty breathtaking there but I feel very comfortable because I’ve been racing that at the track since I was 13. I’m very much at easy because that’s my home and it’s where I love to race.”
That confidence and familiarity can play huge dividends, especially during the Countdown to the Championship. Every run becomes magnified and critical decisions must be made before every run of qualifying and during eliminations.
That pressure likely won’t affect Massey, who is in championship contention for a third straight season. He’s also perfected the art of balancing a good number of ticket requests during the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals and concentrating on the important task at hand.
“We always have tons of friends and family at this race, but when it comes to race day you just have to forget about all that and just race,” said Massey, who started his driving career in a junior dragster at Texas Motorplex. “Everyone knows that when it comes to eliminations you have to be focused on your job, but it’s good to have that support, too. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be driving a Top Fuel car.”
With four wins, Massey is again in top form and is among the favorites in the Countdown. Everyone is chasing points leader Shawn Langdon, who earned his fifth victory of the season at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, but Massey will also have to contend with five-time event winner and defending world champion Brown. Other contenders for the championship include Khalid alBalooshi, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Morgan Lucas, Texan Steve Torrence and Bob Vandergriff, who beat Massey in the 2011 finals.
“I feel like we are where we need to be, but so does everyone else and all 10 drivers in the Countdown are capable of winning a championship,” Massey said. “You can’t take anybody lightly and you have to make sure you’re doing your job these last six races.”
Massey also knows the importance of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. As the second race in the Countdown to the Championship – and also the second of four straight race weekends to kick off the playoffs – a strong performance is imperative to stay in the hunt for a world championship title.
“The Dallas event is right at the start of the Countdown so you really have to go rounds to stay in that top three or five,” Massey said. “If you start falling behind it’s tough to catch up. This is a race where you really have to start laying the foundation for a championship run, and you really have to keep that momentum going.”
For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.