Spencer Massey won his second consecutive Top Fuel event on Sunday at Heartland Park in Topeka.
He qualified 12th but beat third-seeded Shawn Langdon in the final with a run of 3.871 seconds at 314.02 miles per hour.
It was a fairly routine win by NHRA standards, which was a welcome change of pace after the week Massey had.
It all goes back to the final race last week.
“Last week, we won Atlanta and we had a big fireball in the final round and caught everything on fire,” Massey said. “We get up here on Wednesday or Thursday, got back to the motorhome that night, and there’s smoke rolling out of it. My generator is mounted down below in a compartment and it was on fire. If I’d have been five minutes late, my whole motor coach would’ve burned to the ground.”
Luckily Massey wasn’t five minutes late. He was able to grab the fire extinguisher in time to limit the damage. He also identified and fixed the problem that lead to the fire.
Fight to the finish in Pro Stock
The Pro Stock division didn’t lack for drama over the final two rounds. It was the most tightly contested professional division Sunday, and the numbers back it up.
Winner Allen Johnson’s run of 6.663 seconds at 207.18 mph nudged runner-up Jeg Coughlin Jr. by just 0.001 seconds.
Johnson and Erica Enders-Stevens tied at 6.657 seconds in their semifinal, but Johnson advanced on a 0.024 edge in starting time. Coughlin, meanwhile, edged out Dave Connolly by 0.02 seconds in the other semifinal.
“It’s going to be that way all year,” Johnson said. “I’m telling you, there’s 10 cars in every race that can qualify No. 1 and win the race. It’s that close in Pro Stock. It’s going to be the year of the driver.”
Sunday was Johnson’s third Pro Stock win of the season, tops in the division. It was also his third win at Heartland Park and 23rd career victory.
Enders-Stevens just misses mark
Johnson’s win over Enders-Stevens kept her from grabbing the 100th professional NHRA win by a woman.
Enders-Stevens would have had first shot at it ahead of Funny Car’s Courtney Force, since the Pro Stock finals were run first.
“Well, she’s just 20-something,” Johnson said. “(Shoot), she can get the 200th. It’s sort of bittersweet. I really wanted her to get that, to be honest. But she’s a young lady and she’s got a big future ahead of her. I’d rank her in the top five drivers in Pro Stock ever. She’s that good and that hungry. She’ll get her accolades, I promise you.”
| Todd Engle, special to The Star