Meanwhile, series leader Shawn Langdon and seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher have been swapping the points lead back and forth like a hot potato. All the while, defending world champ Antron Brown has won races and is lurking in fifth, and fourth place Doug Kalitta, a five-time No. 1 qualifier and Norwalk runner-up, is certainly due a victory at any moment in his Mac Tools dragster.
“The competition has been unbelievable,” Massey said. “It’s like bracket racing. There are so many cars that can win. Even if you do have a great run, you could still get beat. The competition is so close. It really pushes everyone to focus and be better racers. As a driver you love to have that kind of competition. It’s been exciting.”
With only five races remaining in the Regular Season, Massey says the time to make a move will be at Denver, Sonoma and Seattle during the Western Swing. Given his track record in those three events, he likes his team’s chances. Perhaps even to become the eighth driver to sweep the Western Swing.
“I feel like we’re building up right now,” Massey said. “Everything has to jell and you have to have a little luck with a lot of skill. Every team has their ups and downs along the way. It’s a long season.”
Massey, who has proven in the past that he can put together lengthy final round streaks and jaw-dropping performance streaks – such as his incredible 40-plus consecutive runs without an oildown from two years ago – he says he would prefer that a streak like that come around in September, October and November this year.
“I would like to have our upswing near the end of the year,” Massey said. “Last year we won a bunch of races early in the year and then kind of fell off at the end of the season. If we could have our momentum swing around the Countdown this year that would be when we want it the most.”
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan is the points leader and the 2011 Funny Car world champion is looking to retain his points lead in a tough category. Johnny Gray leads the category with four wins and a hard-charging John Force, Ron Capps, Courtney Force and Cruz Pedregon are all hoping to add a victory to their resumes at this event.
Two-time Denver Pro Stock winner Mike Edwards became the first racer of the year to clinch a berth into the Countdown to the Championship with his four wins this season and will be looking to continue his dominance on the field. Defending world champ Allen Johnson, a four-time Bandimere Speedway winner, Jeg Coughlin, Jason Line, Greg Anderson and Vincent Nobile are all looking for wins in Colorado.
Riders to watch in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category include series leader Hector Arana Jr., a three-time winner this season, red-hot Michael Ray, who has won two races recently, Norwalk winner Matt Smith, Epping champ John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck, who is a win waiting to happen. The Screamin-Eagle Vance & Hines team of defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and three-time champ Andrew Hines, have local ties in the area and also will be among the pre-race favorites.