BRISTOL — Spencer Massey’s Top Fuel dragster rocketed down Bristol Dragway at 3.775 seconds and 326.79 mph as track records were shattered in all three professional classes in Friday night qualifying for the NHRA Ford Thunder Valley Nationals.
With cooler than normal than conditions for this time of year, five cars bested Shawn Langdon’s previous elapsed time record of 3.796 seconds set last season. Massey broke his own speed record of 324.98 mph, also set last season.
As quick as he ran, the 30-year-old Texan and his crew chief Phil Shuler both believed there was more speed left in the car.
“We got back to the trailer and Phil goes, ‘Man, we were weak. It could have taken a lot more,’” Massey said. “We could have gone a lot better from 60 foot to 330. It actually stuck the tire because the track was so good. We should have given it more power.
“It almost cost us because it started to shake the tire a little bit and made me turn right when I left. I had to turn the car and get back after it to keep it in the groove. We actually have more. I believe could have run a .75.”
If the time holds up through today’s final two rounds of qualifying, Massey will earn his first No. 1 qualifying award of the season. Although Shuler accurately predicted the time, Massey didn’t think it would actually hold up.
“It went a .77 just like he said it was going to and it stayed No. 1,” Massey said. “I figured Shawn or Tony (Schumacher) would go down there and run a .75 or .76, but they obviously struggled a little bit. It made us stay No. 1 which is unbelivable.”
Del Worsham drove his Toyota to a new elapsed time record of 4.008 seconds in Funny Car, while Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan each ran 317.05 mph for a new top speed. Beckman earned the track record based on him making the run first.
Worsham, driving the Kalitta Motorsports Toyota, talked about his provisional No. 1 qualifier which came after he won the 2011 Top Fuel championship and sat out last season to serve as crew chief for Alexis Dejoria.
“It was a great run,” Worsham said about breaking Robert Hight’s two-year-old record. “The last few races this car has definitely been running better. We qualified fifth in Topeka, second in Englishtown, and so far, we’re first here. A lot of headway as been made on this car. Even after ran so well at Englishtown, they went back and front-halved it and basically made it like a new car again.”
Mike Edwards, going for a fifth straight Thunder Valley win, set a new speed record in the first round of Pro Stock qualifying and then followed up with an elapsed time record in the second round.
His Chevrolet went down the track in the first session at 208.23 broke a four-year-old track record of 207.04 mph set by Greg Anderson in May 2009. He broke his own time record by just .001 second, going 6.632 seconds in the second round.
If the time holds up today, it will be Edwards’ ninth No. 1 qualifying effort of the season.
“I’m happy for my team. The K&N Camaro was just flawless,” Edwards said. “It just run so good. I’m really pleased, almost scary how good we’re running. Hopefully, we can keep it up tomorrow and come away with the No. 1 qualifier.”
Greeneville driver Allen Johnson raced his Dodge to second in Pro Stock qualifying with a pass of 6.646 seconds (206.70). The defending Pro Stock champion, who has earned No. 1 qualifier at each of the last Bristol races, improved his standing from fifth after the first round of qualifying.