When it mattered most, Spencer Massey got the best of Steve Torrence.
The two NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel standouts made a friendly wager before Friday’s qualifying session under the lights at Summit Motorsports Park, a bet that Torrence won with his better reaction time and 3.829 run.
But in the finals of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, it was Massey who crossed the finish line first – and thanks to a holeshot no less.
With a reaction time of .054, Massey’s 3.916 at 312.50 mph held up against Steve Torrence and his 3.894 at 315.71 mph in an incredible drag race, sending him to the winner’s circle for a class-best fourth time in 2012.
“It was going to be huge no matter how I looked at it. He’s been running awesome all day and, really, all season. I just knew I had to be on my game,” Massey said. “We didn’t want to go out and beat ourselves. That’s still our motto. I knew I had to be on my game and stay in the groove.
“At the 1/8-mile, I could hear him and I’m looking over and I couldn’t see his nose out there. We have a stop on the throttle pedal and I think I probably bent that thing more because I was trying pushing out the front of the car, trying to get it go faster. “This is just a testament to the team. I just try to have fun and get out there and do what I do.”
Sunday’s final between the two young standouts was also the fulfillment of a race that was supposed to happen years ago in Texas during an NHRA Division IV race in Top Alcohol Dragster.
Massey, who won for the 10th time in his career on Sunday, had just been licensed earlier in the weekend and both drivers advanced to the finals of what would have been a marquee showdown of two future Top Fuel stars.
But Massey kicked the rods out in the shutdown area in his winning semifinal run, sending Torrence to victory with a bye run.
On Sunday, they officially met in the finals for the first time and it turned into the type of side-by-side beauty that both had likely envisioned for years.
“It’s just awesome how it all turns out. We’re all having fun and loving life. This is something Steve and I have dreamed about for a long time,” Massey said.
“We’re both from Texas and we grew up in (NHRA) Division IV racing alcohol dragster and it was just cool have an old-school kind of round for me. It was awesome and Steve is a great competitor.”
After qualifying No. 7, Massey turned it up a notch on Sunday with a string of epic performances.
He had a great side-by-side run with Shawn Langdon in the first round, going 3.841 at 322.73 inch by him and then added a 3.923 and 3.951 to beat Antron Brown and David Grubnic, respectively.
Torrence was right there with him, dominating all weekend after qualifying No. 1 and turning in a pair of runs in the 3.80s on Sunday.
The finals then turned into another classic duel between two outstanding leavers and sent the huge Summit Motorsports Park crowd home happy.
Massey turned it up in the finals, delivering his best reaction time of the weekend when it mattered most.
“I try to be the best on reaction time, but right now Steve is the No. 1 guy on reaction time and it’s nice to actually get one back at him,” Massey said. “I try to look at everyone light’s through qualifying and I just had to be ready.
“I had actually been off my game all weekend and when I had to step it up, I stepped it up. I’m just thankful for it to turn it out the way it did.”
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