Rookie Massey Wins With The Chew Crew
Spencer Massey collected his first-ever NHRA Top Fuel win Sunday at the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. and he did it by beating Antron Brown on the final run.
Massey was joined in victory by Tony Pedregon (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock), and Matt Guidera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Massey, one of the frontrunners for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award given annually to the season’s top rookie, upset low qualifier Antron Brown in a quick final round, 3.856, 308.35 to 3.870, 301.54, to add to an already impressive résumé.
Massey, who had scored three times in Top Alcohol Dragster and had won the IHRA Top Fuel championship last year, reached the second NHRA Top Fuel final of his NHRA rookie season by taking Don Prudhomme’s Donnie Bender- and Todd Smith-wrenched U.S. Smokeless dragster past fellow Texan Troy Buff, Terry Haddock, and, in a rematch of his losing Topeka semifinal clash, former Prudhomme driver Larry Dixon, to reach the final round.
Although he didn’t win, Brown nonetheless regained the Top Fuel points lead he twice has held this season by beating Topeka runner-up Clay Millican in the semifinals to reach his fourth final this season, ninth of his Top Fuel career, and his 34th overall. Prior to beating Millican, Brown, the low qualifier in Mike Ashley’s Brian Corradi- and Mark Oswald-tuned Matco dragster, had defeated Luigi Novelli and Rod Fuller.
After two runner-ups this season, Pedregon was never headed as he won this event for the second straight year and ended a drought stretching back to last year’s Brainerd event, and did it in wire-to-wire fashion from the No. 1 spot. In what was a battle for second place in the standings, Pedregon won his eighth straight round here easily when Force Hood smoked the tires. The victory is the 41st of Pedregon’s career.
Pedregon had qualified his Quaker State Chevy No. 1 with a 4.079, and crew chief Dickie Venables kept feeding the coals Sunday with a sizzling string of 4.0-second performance, beating points leader Ron Capps with a 4.093, Robert Hight with a 4.096, and brother Cruz Pedregon’s Advance Auto Parts Toyota with low e.t. of the meet, 4.062, to earn lane choice for the final, the 70th of his career and his third of the season.
Force Hood, runner-up last weekend in Topeka to Capps, reached the fourth final of the season with her Dean Antonelli- and Ron Douglas-tuned Castrol Mustang by racing through a Ford-thick side of the ladder after all six Mustangs in the field advanced to round two, four of them on her side of the ladder. After besting Jack Beckman in round one with a 4.085, Force Hood kept the heat on with a 4.071 to trailer Bob Tasca III and a 4.078 to beat teammate Mike Neff in the semifinals and reach her ninth Pro final.
Points leader Coughlin was gunning for his fourth win of the season with the Jegs.com Cobalt and was hoping to avenge his semifinal loss a week earlier to Edwards in Topeka, but with the way Edwards was running throughout the event, he probably never expected it to come via a red-light in the final, but Edwards was .021-second too early and handed the win to Coughlin, the 44th of his Pro Stock career and 57th overall.
Coughlin had worked his way past both ends of the career driving spectrum, beating rookie Ryan Ondrejko in round one and class veteran Warren Johnson in round two before eking out a .005-second semifinal victory over Greg Anderson to reach his 74th career Pro Stock final, 92nd overall, and third straight at this event. Coughlin also won this race in 2007 and also had won the fall event at Route 66 twice.
Edwards had recorded his sixth No. 1 qualifying berth and was trying to win for the third time this season and 17th time in his Pro Stock career, but a failing air gap on the clutch triggered the final-round foul. Edwards’ ART/Young Life Pontiac was the quickest in three of four qualifying sessions and in all four eliminations rounds as he handled red-lighting Ronnie Humphrey, Johnny Gray, and Kurt Johnson with runs of 6.626, 6.633, and 6.638 to earn lane choice for the final, the 34th of his career. K.J. gave it a valiant try with a big semifinal holeshot, but Edwards squeezed by to win by .001-second.
Guidera only qualified 10th but had the best bike of race day, especially through the late rounds to the final, where he defeated reigning season champ Eddie Krawiec, 7.096, 181.79 to 7.189, 179.66, to collect his fourth career win with the Mohegan Sun Buell.
Guidera, runner-up at this event three years ago, had not been past the second round in the five Pro Stock Motorcycle races this season but worked his way to his sixth career final round in impressive fashion as the quickest rider in the second and semifinal rounds. Guidera, who last visited the winner’s circle at last year’s Sonoma event, rode to the final from the No. 10 qualifying spot by beating a pair of former Mac Tools U.S. Nationals champs, Craig Treble and Steve Johnson, in the first and third rounds and Michael Phillips with the only six-second pass of eliminations, a 6.997, in the quarterfinals.
Krawiec, who won the world championship last year aboard his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley without winning a single event, was riding a two-event win streak entering the event, having won in Atlanta and Madison.
– Courtesy of the Full Throttle NHRA drag racing seriesNo Comment