With everything that goes into running successfully at Denver, including starting to prepare weeks in advance for the altitude change, Massey knows doing well to kick off the rigorous Western Swing can be a huge boost to his team.
“The altitude makes things so much different,” Massey said. “It’s so much harder to even breathe and there’s so much time and changes you have to make for just this one race. It takes a lot out of everybody, but we have a car that performs well in these conditions. We’re out here to win and that’s what keeps everyone going. You don’t put in all that time and effort to lose.”
Massey is also ready to get back to winning after the five-race stretch that followed his back-to-back wins in Atlanta and Topeka netted just two round victories.
That dropped Massey to fifth in points after being as high as third after Topeka, but Massey remains encouraged with how his dragster has performed and is eyeing a return to the top three heading into the Countdown.
“I obviously like going in as the defending champion but the good thing is the car is running extremely well,” Massey said. “We’ve had some bad luck at recent races, but I’m very excited about how the car is running. It’s a lot more consistent and it’s going down the track. We’re excited for the Western Swing and hopefully we can get some momentum going in Denver.”
To do so, Massey, who has 16 career victories, will have to get past a talented lineup that includes the red-hot Antron Brown, who has won twice in Denver and won the most recent event in Norwalk. Other challengers include seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher, as well as points leader Doug Kalitta, reigning world champ Shawn Langdon, rising star and former Denver winner J.R. Todd, sophomore-sensation Brittany Force, Steve Torrence, Khalid alBalooshi and rookie Richie Crampton.
But when it comes to unique challenges, Massey, a Texas native, is as prepared as anyone in the class.
“It’s usually hot there and the hotter it is the better I do,” Massey said. “We have so much data from all these years and whenever you get on a roll at a certain track you try to keep that tune-up the same. The crew knows exactly how to prepare for this race.”