“Starting from the first round, it was tough,” Massey said. “When you’re in Top Fuel, it’s going to be tough no matter what because you have to compete with the best of the best. Racing Tony in the second round, that felt like a final. Shawn’s been cutting great lights all weekend long, but I was just trying to get the car to the finish line as quickly as possible.”
Johnson, the defending Pro Stock world champion, claimed his third victory in 2013 and 19th for his career by outrunning Shane Gray in the final round on a holeshot. Johnson’s Team Mopar Dodge Avenger posted a 6.642 at 205.38 while Gray ran 6.633 at 210.34 in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro. The difference came down to Johnson’s stellar .025 reaction time on the starting line.
“We had a great day and we just kept adapting to the track,” Johnson said. “Our team really worked hard and that was a fantastic run we put together in the finals. We made a radical change after the semifinals to get ready for the finals, and it really worked. We found something that will help the rest of the season.”
Johnson took sole possession of second in the points standings with the victory, as Gray moved to sixth. To reach the finals, Johnson knocked off John Gaydosh, Tom Martino and points leader Mike Edwards in the semifinals. That victory also came on a holeshot, as Johnson posted a stellar .027 reaction time against Edwards.
“We’ve been doing a lot of testing and the testing is over,” Johnson said. “We’re in race mode from here on out. I think we showed here that we’re running well and hopefully we can keep that up going into the (Countdown To The Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs).”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hall claimed his first career win after rookie Adam Arana, who was making his first finals appearance, fouled with a red-light start on his ProtectTheHarvest.com/MAV-TV Buell in the final. Hall went 6.924 at 193.93 on his Viper Motorcycle Company Buell en route to the victory.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Hall, a Hamden, Conn. resident who was also making his first final round appearance. “It’s just a special time. We needed it and it came at the right time and close to home. We’re just happy to be here. I can’t thank everybody enough. Matt Smith Racing has opened up a door of opportunity for me, and it’s worked out great.”
Hall, who moved to second in points behind Hector Arana Jr., knocked off Smith in the second round before beating LE Tonglet in the semifinals. Hall was also able to keep calm leading into his first finals appearance.
“You just have to stay focused and not do anything you’re going to regret,” Hall said. “I made some mistakes last year and I’m just trying to not do that this year.”