2013 NHRA: Spencer Massey NHRA U.S. Nationals Event Preview
Last year at the prestigious U.S. Nationals near Indianapolis Spencer Massey lived out one of his dreams and came just one win light short of accomplishing the other.
Massey was crowned the 2012 Traxxas Nitro Shootout Top Fuel champion and earned the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher dragster team a $100,000 bonus by defeating David Grubnic, Morgan Lucas and Steve Torrence in the eight-car event.
"Indy was pretty special for me last year," said Massey. "We won the Traxxas Shootout and went to the final round. But this year we want to win the Traxxas Shootout and the U.S. Nationals title. Indy is a race that everyone dreams of. It's the big one that you want to win. It's huge to have that race on your win list and that's what we're shooting for."
The Battery Extender dragster team, seeded No. 2 based on current NHRA Mello Yello Series standings, will race No. 7 Bob Vandergriff in the opening round of Saturday's Traxxas Nitro Shootout, which begins at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Last year, Massey was runner-up to Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher when Schumacher earned his ninth U.S. Nationals win, tying him with Don Garlits for the most Indy Top Fuel titles.
"Tony got us last year and we're going to do everything we can to not let that happen again," he said. "We had a great test session last week and we're ready for the 'Big Go.' It's looking like it's going to be a hot one, so as a driver you have to be ready for anything and I am."
Don Schumacher Racing will kick off the U.S. Nationals Labor Day weekend with its annual Open House on Friday, Aug. 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All DSR drivers will be participating in an autograph session at noon. All proceeds from the open house will go to Riley Hospital for Children.
"I look forward to the Open House every year," Massey said. "There's always a good crowd and it's cool to be able to show the fans around our home.
"I spend all week in Indy hanging out with my team and getting ready for the race. I'm really looking forward to getting things started on Friday and seeing if we can't get one more win light than we did last year."
The following are Massey's statistics and other event notes for the 59th annual U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway:
SPENCER MASSEY, Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher
Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Poles DNQ Win/Loss
2013 2nd 17 4 1 6 1 0 33-13
CAREER 88 14 13 21 6 2 157-71
Best time, speed
3.728 sec. (5-31-12, Englishtown, N.J.), 332.18 mph** (4-15-12, Charlotte 1); ** NHRA record
Last event, U.S. Nationals history
Last event (Brainerd, Minn.): Qualified No. 2; defeated Clay Millican in championship round.
A year ago at Indy: Qualified No. 2; lost to Tony Schumacher in championship round.
Wins at Indy: 0
Runner-ups at Indy: 1 (2012)
Poles at Indy: 1 (2010)
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS
(After 17 of 24 events; through Brainerd, Minn.; DSR drivers in CAPS)
1. Shawn Langdon 1,370
2. SPENCER MASSEY 1,249
3. TONY SCHUMACHER 1,199
4. Doug Kalitta 1,009
5. Khalid alBalooshi 1,002
6. ANTRON BROWN 994
7. Clay Millican 928
8. Morgan Lucas 917
9.Steve Torrence 794
10. Bob Vandergriff 789
2013 TOP FUEL WINNERS: Langdon, SCHUMACHER, BROWN, SCHUMACHER, MASSEY, Vandergriff, BROWN, Langdon, Langdon, Steve Torrence, MASSEY, SCHUMACHER, alBalooshi, MASSEY, Langdon, Lucas, MASSEY.
NHRA U.S. NATIONALS SCHEDULE
Wednesday: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., NHRA Fanfest on Monument Circle, Downtown Indy (Meridian & Market Street).
Friday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Don Schumacher Racing Open House; 7 p.m., Nitro qualifying, session 1.
Saturday: 4 p.m., Nitro qualifying, session 2; 7 p.m., Nitro qualifying, session 3; 8:15 p.m.: Top Fuel Traxxas Shootout final.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m., Nitro qualifying, session 4; 3:30 p.m., Nitro qualifying, session 5; 4:45 p.m., Funny Car Traxxas Shootout final.
Monday (Labor Day): 11 a.m., championship eliminations
DSR OPEN HOUSE FOR RILEY KIDS IS FRIDAY
Fans and friends of Don Schumacher Racing are invited to join the biggest team in professional racing on Friday for the 8th annual Don Schumacher Racing Open House to benefit Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and Camp Riley.
The free, festive event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. will feature a giant car/bike show, entertainment and appearances by each of DSR's seven professional drivers along with owner Don Schumacher at DSR headquarters at 1681 E. Northfield Drive in Brownsburg.
The event kicks off the NHRA U.S. Nationals Labor Day Weekend, which opens with professional qualifying later that day at Lucas Oil Raceway located about 2 miles from DSR headquarters.
The Open House, which attracted a record-crowd of more than 4,000 fans last year and boosted DSR's contributions to Riley past the $200,000 mark, invites all to celebrate DSR's 200th NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series title.
The first 500 guests who arrive at the Open House after 10 a.m. will receive a free "DSR Win No. 200" sticker, commemorative Don Schumacher Hall of Fame Tribute autograph card and a chance to win a unique prize package of 40 1/24-scale DSR diecast collectibles from various seasons valued at a total of $3,500. (Additional raffle tickets will be available for $10 each.)
Popular Open House features returning will be: Indy Hi-Winders Car Show, DSR/Riley Silent Auction, DSR Driver Autograph Session, Raminator Monster Truck, live entertainment with the Army Entertainment Group; 330-mph Art Show featuring motorsports artists Bruce Tatman and DSR fabricator Thomas Patsis; DSR CNC/Machine Shop tours; and more surprises!
All seven DSR drivers are qualified for the Traxxas Nitro Shootouts to be held during qualifying for the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. The winners of the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories each will receive $100,000 for their teams
The following are first-round match-ups for the Shootouts:
TOP FUEL (Saturday): No. 1 Shawn Langdon vs. No. 8 fan vote/lottery winner; No. 2 SPENCER MASSEY vs. No. 7 Bob Vandergriff; No. 3 TONY SCHUMACHER vs. Steve Torrence; No. 4. Khalid alBalooshi vs. No. 5 ANTRON BROWN.
FUNNY CAR (Sunday): No. 1 MATT HAGAN vs. No. 8 fan vote/lottery winner; No. 2 RON CAPPS vs. No. 7 JACK BECKMAN; No. 3 JOHNNY GRAY vs. No. 6 Courtney Force; No. 4. Cruz Pedregon vs. No. 5 John Force.
(as of Tuesday afternoon)
Wednesday: High of 92; 20 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms
Thursday: High 89; 0 percent chance of rain
Friday: High 91; 0 percent chance of rain
Saturday: High 92; 20 percent chance of isolated thunderstorms
Sunday: High 92; 0 percent chance of rain
Monday: High 84; 0 percent chance of rain
ON ESPN2 (times are EDT)
Sunday: Qualifying, 1-6 p.m., delayed
Monday: Championship eliminations, noon-6 p.m.