Fort Worth native Massey ready for another shot at Wally trophy with No. 1-ranked Battery Extender dragster at Texas Motorplex
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 17, 2013) – The most wonderful time of the year doesn’t come in December for Spencer Massey. It comes in September and it takes place at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
A Fort Worth native, Massey will return to his home track with high hopes of earning a Wally trophy in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel class. Massey, who turned 31 on Sept. 13, first laid eyes on Top Fuel dragsters at the Motorplex as a child in 1986 and has been dreaming of winning there in a dragster ever since.
“It would mean a lot to me to win at Texas Motorplex,” Massey said. “I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, dreaming of driving Top Fuel here. I still remember seeing Top Fuel dragsters there for the first time.
“That’s when I got hooked to drag racing. That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve come so close to winning that Top Fuel Wally here and I want that special cowboy hat they give the winner.”
Massey and the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher team has momentum going into Dallas stemming from a runner-up finish at the last event near Charlotte that moved his team to No. 1 in the Top Fuel standings for the first time in 19 races this year.
“We’ve definitely got momentum on our side heading into Dallas,” said Massey, who has won four titles this season with crew chiefs Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler. “We had a great outing in Charlotte and took over the points lead, but we know we have to keep going rounds to stay in the fight for the championship.”
Massey has numerous wins from Texas Motorplex from his days of driving NHRA Jr. Dragsters and racing in NHRA Sportsman Super Comp class. He’s been runner-up the past two years near Dallas in Top Fuel.
“I’ve won lot of races at the Motorplex. From Jr. Dragster races to Super Comp races, even a track championship. But to win in Top Fuel there would be huge for me. I’ve been to the final round the past two years and just came up short. That just makes me want it more. My family and friends will there cheering me on and I’m ready to go.”
“We know what we have to do. We just can’t go out there and beat ourselves. That’s what we’ve said all season long. Now it’s time to show it.”
No. 1 Top Fuel
SPENCER MASSEY, Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher
Last event (Sept. 13-15, Concord, N.C.): Qualified No. 7; lost in championship round to Morgan Lucas.
Last event at Dallas (Sept. 20-23, 2012): Qualified No. 10; lost in championship round to teammate Antron Brown.
Career at Dallas: Wins 0; runner-ups 2 (2012, 2011); poles 0
KALITTA HEADS TO TEXAS MOTORPLEX LOOKING FOR VICTORY TO MAKE RUN FOR TOP FUEL TITLE IN COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
ENNIS, Texas – Doug Kalitta has proven this season that his Mac Tools dragster is one of the quickest machines in the class, supported by his category-best five No. 1 qualifying positions.
As the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship heads to the famed Texas Motorplex near Dallas for round No. 2 of NHRA’s playoffs, Kalitta is in the championship mix, sitting fourth in the series standings, only 43 points out of first place.
Kalitta is certainly one of the pre-race favorites to win the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Sept. 19-22 at Texas Motorplex. 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.
Kalitta is riding a bit of momentum from posting back-to-back semifinal finishes at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and this past weekend’s Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
He has been able to produce a bunch of round wins, 23 to be exact, but so far this season the veteran driver just hasn’t been able to add to his career win total of 32 victories.
He has remained competitive in the series standings by accumulating a bunch of qualifying bonus points. He’s among the category leaders in that department, having racked up 52 of the 3-2-1 points during qualifying rounds this season.
With only one runner-up finish in 2013, at Norwalk, pure basic statistics would suggest Kalitta is due a victory anytime soon. He hasn’t won since July 2010 in Denver.
There are five playoff races remaining: at Dallas, St. Louis, Reading, Pa., Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif., and Kalitta has visited winner’s circle at each of those tracks. A victory at this point in the Countdown playoffs would be huge in the 49-year-old driver’s quest to win his first world championship title.
“We are having a great year so far, but we haven’t been able to break through and get a win,” Kalitta said. “With only five events left time is definitely running out on us, but we’re all very confident we can get it done – Hopefully in Dallas.”
Like zMAX Dragway, the Texas Motorplex will offer the teams an all-concrete racing surface. The Motorplex was the first track to feature the full-length track surface in a single compound and is also recognized as the first super-stadium of drag racing.
“We’ve had some success racing our Mac Tools dragster in Dallas before,” Kalitta said. “We were able to grab the trophy in 2002 and we’ve been a finalist a few times. It’s a great track. Being able to race consecutive weekends on concrete tracks should be a help for Jim and all of the crew chiefs. The tune-ups of nitro cars are so on-the-edge anyway so to have just a little of the same variable should help.”
Apart from the great racing surface and intense competition of the Countdown, Kalitta says heading to Texas always offers a fun time for his Kalitta Motorsports team.
“We’ve always liked racing in Dallas,” Kalitta said. “Our crew chief Jim Oberhofer grew up in the Plano area so we always have an extended family reunion when we race at Texas Motorplex. We have a great time with Dave “O” and Sue “O” (Jim’s parents) and all the Oberhofer family and friends. It’s a great time.”
Kalitta and the rest of the competitors are chasing regular season leader Shawn Langdon, who has a class-leading five victories at the controls of his Al-Anabi Racing dragster, but Texan Spencer Massey took over the points lead with a runner-up finish in Charlotte and will draw some inspiration from his hometown cheering section. Charlotte winner Morgan Lucas has emerged as a title contender in the third place points position. Other pre-race favorites include Khalid alBalooshi, Clay Millican, Texan Steve Torrence and past Motorplex winner Bob Vandergriff. Defending world champ and event winner Brown will try to bounce back at this event as he posted an uncharacteristic DNQ at the playoff opener.
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan leads the series standings with four season victories at the controls of his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger and will be trying to earn his second victory at the Motorplex. He will need to hold off veterans Cruz Pedregon, a three-time event champ who clocked the second-quickest time in NHRA history at Charlotte, and Ron Capps, the 1998 winner here. Others to watch include the Force powerhouse that includes 15-time world champion John Force, his youngest daughter Courtney, a two-time winner this season, and two-time Motorplex winner and Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Robert Hight, who opened the playoffs with a win at zMAX Dragway and jumped from ninth to third in the points.
Oklahoma native and series points leader Mike Edwards aims to bring his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro back to the Motorplex winner’s circle as he did in 1998, giving him seven victories in his dream season. But defending world champion and event winner Johnson has high hopes for a second straight world championship, and his teammates Jeg Coughlin, who has three victories including a win at Charlotte last weekend, and three-time winner Vincent Nobile are also in the hunt for a title. Native Texan Erica Enders-Stevens, who has sponsorship from Husky Liners, will certainly be a fan-favorite as this event. Rodger Brogdon of Tomball, Texas and Chris McGaha of Odessa, Texas, are also local favorites seeking wins in front of a large contingent of family and friends.
Pro Stock Motorcycle sensation Hector Arana Jr. leads the class with four wins aboard his Lucas Oil Buell while battling a tough group of challengers in the two-wheel category, including two-time season winner and New Braunfels, Texas rider Ray and his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell, Matt Smith, John Hall, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and Hector Arana Sr. A non-Countdown contender, Andrew Hines, won the playoff opener on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will thrill the crowds during the weekend with intense competition on the track.
As always, every ticket purchased for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their sophisticated machines between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans will also want to check out NHRA Nitro Alley and the popular NHRA Manufacturers Midway where vendors and sponsors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and freebies. Fans will also want to take advantage of Championship Sunday for the fun fanzone featuring driver introductions and a special Track Walk at 9:30 a.m. It’s free to all Sunday ticket holders.
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 20, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. 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.
LONE STAR STATE NATIVE RAY RETURNS TO SITE OF FIRST PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE VICTORY AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX LOOKING FOR MORE SUCCESS
ENNIS, Texas – When Michael Ray returns to the Texas Motorplex this weekend for round two of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs, he will enter his home track as a defending event winner.
That’s a great feeling for Ray, a native of New Braunfels, Texas, who defeated Karen Stoffer in the finals last year to score his first career victory in his first full season in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Ray’s family and friends were able to witness the event at a track just two hours from his home.
“For my mom and dad and everybody being there and all the sacrifices my parents made throughout their entire life to see me be successful it was awesome,” Ray said. “My dad busted his butt for one of those Wallys and never got one, and standing there with my father in victory lane and seeing the tears in his eyes and excitement was just like, ‘This is awesome.’ That is what I’ll never forget.”
Ray and all of the racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series return to the Texas Motorplex for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Sept. 19-22, the second of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) join Ray as defending winners of the race that will be televised on ESPN2HD.
Ray has amassed two wins and two No. 1 qualifying positions in his first season with the Sovereign-Star Racing Buell team. He is fourth in the Countdown to the Championship, 48 points back of leader Hector Arana Jr., but he isn’t letting the pressure get to him during the stretch run.
“I think so much of our team’s success is the character we all bring to the table and the fun that we have,” Ray continued. “I have a sticker on my dashboard that says, ‘Just add fun.’ That is all we do. We joke about it and some people say, ‘You just don’t seem to be taking this very seriously,’ but there’s not another team that has a bigger fire lit under its butt than this one. But you have to have a lot of fun out here or this sport will eat you alive.”
Leading Ray, Scotty Pollacheck and the Sovereign-Star Racing team is George Bryce, who is one of the most renowned crew chiefs in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. As a rider, he raced to four consecutive titles in the National Motorcycle Racing Association from 1981 to 1984. As a crew chief, he has amassed 71 victories and earned six championships between John Myers and Angelle Sampey. His guidance and skills have put Ray in a position to succeed each time he climbs on his Buell.
“When you look back at the history he has at being a great crew chief, he is a magician on the track producing results,” Ray continued. “Those things for me being a young driver, I’m 29 and in my second full time season, for me that is worth its weight in gold. It is like being a rookie quarterback and having a 20-year veteran back there being your mentor. He does such a good job.”
Following the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals there are only four races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship. Ray and his team realizes to make a run for the championship crown in the two-wheel category requires going rounds at each event.
“You can literally count how many rounds of racing there are left,” Ray concluded. “Right now the first race coming off Charlotte coming into Dallas I did a little comparison to last year and I went in seventh in points and I came out fourth. You can have one really great race and set yourself up.”
For Ray to recapture glory at the Texas Motorplex he will have to outlast a tough field of competitors. Series leader Arana Jr. heads the class with four wins aboard his Lucas Oil Buell while Matt Smith, John Hall, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and Hector Arana Sr. will be contenders during the event.
In Top Fuel, Texas native Spencer Massey leads the points standings after racing to a runner-up finish at the most recent event. He has yet to win at the Texas Motorplex and will need to do so to keep has championship drive alive. Defending world champ and event winner Brown, seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher and other standouts like Charlotte winner Morgan Lucas, Khalid alBalooshi, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Steve Torrence and past Motorplex winner Bob Vandergriff also will attempt to win on the all-concrete dragstrip.
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan leads the series standings with four season victories at the controls of his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger and will be trying to earn his second victory at the Motorplex. He will need to hold off veterans Cruz Pedregon, a three-time event champ, and Ron Capps, the 1998 winner there. Others to watch include the Force powerhouse that includes 15-time world champion John Force, his youngest daughter Courtney, a two-time winner this season, and two-time Motorplex winner and Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Robert Hight, who won the playoff opener in Charlotte.
Johnson will have his work cut out for him in a loaded class. Points leader Mike Edwards aims to bring his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro back to the Motorplex winner’s circle as he did in 1998, giving him seven victories in his dream season. But chasing him is a number of standouts, including Johnson’s teammates Jeg Coughlin, who has three wins including the most recent victory in Charlotte, and three-time season winner Vincent Nobile. Texas native Erica Enders-Stevens will be trying to grab a victory in her home state, as will Rodger Brogdon of Tomball, Texas and Chris McGaha of Odessa, Texas.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will thrill the crowds during the weekend with intense competition on the track.
As always, every ticket purchased for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their high horsepower machines between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans will also want to check out NHRA Nitro Alley and the popular NHRA Manufacturers Midway where manufacturers and sponsors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and freebies. Fans will also want to take advantage of Championship Sunday for the fun fanzone featuring driver introductions and a special Track Walk at 9:30 a.m. It’s free to all Sunday ticket holders.
The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 20, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. 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.
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Sept. 17, 2013) – Jack Beckman took a step closer toward defending his 2012 NHRA Funny Car world championship, but he knows his MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T needs to start taking bigger ones.
Beckman along with crew chief Todd Smith and assistant Terry Snyder intend for that to happen this weekend near Dallas in the AAA Fallnationals at the Texas Motorplex and second round of the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship.
Beckman had a solid showing last weekend to open the Countdown near Charlotte by advancing to the semifinals where he lost to Don Schumacher Racing teammate and points leader Matt Hagan.
The result not only prevented from gaining 20 points on Hagan but it amounted to a 40-point swing in Beckman’s mission to overcome the 2011 Funny Car world champion.
“That’s the match-up we’re going to have to win if we’re going to get another championship,” Beckman said. “We have to get points on them.”
Beckman eliminated a pair of world champions to get to the semifinals where he met Hagan, who went on to finish as the event’s runner-up and extend his lead over Beckman to 92 points.
In the first round, he beat the higher qualified Del Worsham, who won the 2011 Top Fuel world title. In the next round, Beckman took out 2003 and 2007 Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon.
But Hagan’s 4.084-second run ended the day for Beckman, whose time of 4.116 was his slowest of the day.
“Our car really responded to the changes we made,” Beckman said. “It seems to be more predictable and getting closer to what we had with last year’s car.
“If you’re going to find the right time to dial-in a consistently quick race car, then this is it.”
Although Beckman has spent most of his life in Southern California, he knows the Dallas area well and not just because he’s raced there regularly. His father, Bob Beckman, lives near Dallas which makes this weekend’s visit more special provided the weather cooperates.
“You never know what to expect, and it depends which Dallas you get. Typically it’s hot and nasty this time of year when we come to race.”
The forecast could be more favorable with highs forecast in the low- to mid-80s with only Saturday in jeopardy of scattered thunderstorms.
The Motorplex is one NHRA national event track where Beckman has not won but was a finalist in 20009.
“We’ve never won there and haven’t won this year yet so we can check two things off our list,” he said.
JACK BECKMAN, MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors/Valvoline Dodge Charger R/T
Last event (Sept. 13-15, Concord, N.C.): Qualified No. 11; lost in semifinals to teammate Matt Hagan.
Last event at Dallas (Sept. 20-23, 2012): Qualified No. 3; lost in second round to teammate Ron Capps.
Career at Dallas: Wins 0; runner-ups 1 (2009); poles 0
(After 19 of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events; through Sept. 15)
Pts Races Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ W/L
2013 4th 19 0 2 5 8 3 1 0 24-19
CAREER 175 15 18 33 51 52 11 6 230-154
Best Time, Speed
3.986** (10-7-12, Reading, Pa.), 320.58** (10-5-12, Reading); ** NHRA national record
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS WINNERS AIM TO GET STEAMED, SHAPED AND BRANDED…. TEXAS STYLE…. BY WILD BILL
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 19, 2013) – Wild Bill will be back in winner’s circle this Sunday, crowning each of the sportsman and pro winners of the 2013 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals the way any true Texan would: With black felt cowboy hats branded with the Motorplex logo.
Wild Bill has become a tradition in winner’s circle, taking each pro and sportsman winner and personally sizing, steaming, shaping and branding a hat to celebrate their victory at Texas Motorplex. It’s an added trophy that every racer wants to show off.
“If there is one question I get asked most by racers now, it’s always if we are going to have Wild Bill with the cowboy hats,” Texas Motorplex President and GM, Gabrielle Stevenson said. “I get asked dozens of times all year. Racers all want that black, felt hat. They all want the extra trophy to go with the Wally trophy and championship playoff points to go with those big checks.”
And this year, fans can WIN a FREE hat from Wild Bill, just like the one he will do in Winner’s Circle. He will give away one FREE hat each race day. Fans can go online here and enter to win and find out more about Wild Bill’s specialty hats and special offers for Texas Motorplex fans.
Racing starts TODAY with sportsman racers, and pro teams will be in the staging lanes tomorrow and Saturday. Championship Sunday starts with Top Fuel at 11 a.m. and ends with Wild Bill and his team steaming hats at the end of the day.
Heading into this weekend’s action, Texan Spencer Massey leads the way in Top Fuel with 2,174 points with Shawn Langdon sitting in second with 2,150 points while Morgan Lucas, who won last weekend in Charlotte, is third with 2,144 points. Doug Kalitta is forth with 2,131 and Tony Schumacher, who has five Texas Motorplex wins, is fifth with 2,112.
Matt Hagan, who won the 2010 Funny Car title at the Motorplex, leads the Funny Car standings with 2,214 points, followed by Ron Capps (2,132), Robert Hight (2,128), who has won the last two NHRA events, Jack Beckman (2,122) and 15-time world champ John Force (2,116).
Mike Edwards, who has only won the spring 1998 event at Texas Motorplex, sits atop the Pro Stock standings with 2,194 while Charlotte winner Jeg Coughlin is only 10 points back with 2,184. Jason Line is third with 2,147 points, followed by defending Motorplex and series champ Allen Johnson (2,134) and Shane Gray (2,110).
Hector Arana Jr. tops the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with 2,183 points, followed by Matt Smith (2,150), Hector Arana Sr. (2,147), last year’s AAA Texas Fall Nationals winner Michael Ray (2,135) and Scotty Pollacheck (2,095).
This is the last chance for FREE KIDS seats in the Super Seats section: Kids are free in the Super Seats section with promotion code: kidsfree13 when you go to the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals ticketing page here. All Super Seat guest get a free gift, courtesy of AAA Texas!
The defending AAA Texas Fall National winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
Texas Motorplex track records are: Top Fuel — Brandon Bernstein, 3.784 seconds (Sept. 2010), Spencer Massey 324.05 mph; Funny Car — Matt Hagan, 4.062 seconds (Sept. 2010); Jack Beckman, 309.63 mph (Sept. 2011); Pro Stock – Allen Johnson, 6.550 seconds (Sept. 2012); Allen Johnson, 211.99 mph (Sept. 2012), Pro Stock Motorcycle – Hector Arana Jr., 6.828 (Sept. 2011); Michael Phillips, 197.22 mph (Sept. 2011).
15-time Funny Car champion John Force leads all drivers with seven wins at Texas Motorplex, followed by Tony Schumacher and Warren Johnson with five each.
Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Steve Johnson is scheduled to make an appearance Thursday at 11 a.m. at UTI Worldwide in Grand Prairie.
Alex DeJoria’s 36th birthday is Sept. 24 and dozens of family members and friends will be at Texas Motorplex this weekend for an early celebration.
Any fan with a Sunday ticket can participate in the Track Walk at 9:30 a.m. Robert Hight and a number of other pro drivers will lead the walk.
Kebin Kinsley, who drives the Toby Keith Foundation car, will compete in an exhibition run Saturday and Sunday against the Ronny Young Blue Max car.
Jet cars will be on the track to close out action Friday night.
Fans who purchase either a two-day or four-day package in the AAA Super Seats section at the Motorplex will receive a unique, limited edition seat cushion while supplies last.
Texas Motorplex has partnered with Brookshire’s Grocery to present the “Brookshire’s Campground” this weekend. Race fans can visit participating Brookshire’s locations and pick up a voucher good for a $20 discount admission to the campground. The discount voucher offers a 67% savings on campground admission and is available exclusively at participating Brookshire’s locations in and around the Dallas Fort Worth area and are limited to while supplies last.
Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.
Gates open at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 20 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 21 is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.
Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.