Massey takes plenty of momentum into the biggest race of the season, winning in Brainerd for his fourth win in 2013 and jumping to second in the points standings in his Battery Extender/Schumacher Electric dragster. But his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory would also be a massive boost heading into the Countdown to the Championship.
“We’re just making sure the car stays consistent,” Massey said. “We’re not really trying anything new because the car is running well, but we’re just making sure the car is ready to go down this race track. We just have to make sure we’re 100 percent ready for this race.
“This is the Super Bowl of drag racing. Winning this race is something every driver wants to do. It’s the biggest race of the year and I’d like to check winning this off my bucket list.”
Funny Car’s Force has had that honor four times and appeared ready to try to make it five on Thursday, powering his 8,000-horsepower Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a Funny Car-best 4.021 at 318.24. A fifth Indy win would tie Force with Ed McCulloch for the most in class history at the event.
His John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight also had another strong day as he tries to keep his top 10 position, running 4.022 at 314.46 in his Auto Club Mustang.
“We made some pretty good runs,” Force said. “We’re just learning and it was a fun day. It’s Indy and you want to run big numbers. I’m having fun with my kids and we’re getting into race mode.”
Johnny Gray had the quickest Funny Car on Wednesday and his Pitch Energy Dodge Charger had another strong performance on Thursday, running 4.034 at 314.75. Looking for his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win, Gray believes things are coming together at the right time.
“We’re testing some things we’ve wanted to try,” said Gray, a four-time winner in 2013. “Some of it shows a lot of promise and we feel real confident going into the race. We’ll be fine. I would love to come double up with the Traxxas (Nitro) Shootout and the win at Indy and hopefully move up in the points for the Countdown. We’ll see what happens but we’re ready.”
Del Worsham was fourth as his DHL Toyota Camry powered to a 4.035 at 318.54 and Jack Beckman rounded out the top five, going 4.045 at 313.15 in his Valvoline/MTS Dodge Charger.
Worsham currently trails Hight by 31 points in the race for the 10th and final spot in the Countdown, adding even more incentive to do well at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
“We all want to win the championship and until we make the Countdown it’s not possible,” said Worsham, who won at Indy in 2005. “We’re spending a lot of time and money trying to make that happen. Everybody knows what’s on the line and what’s at