Spencer Massey raced to his third Top Fuel victory of the season Sunday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and in the process qualified for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs.
John Force (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the Bandimere Speedway near Denver.
Massey powered his Prestone/FRAM dragster to a performance of 4.150 seconds at 269.67 mph to hold off seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher, who trailed with a 4.255 seconds at 266.95 mph in his U.S. Army dragster. Massey became the second Top Fuel driver to earn a post-season playoff berth, joining current series leader Del Worsham.
Massey outran Brandon Bernstein, Shawn Langdon and Antron Brown in earlier rounds to advance to his fifth final of the season and move to second in the points standings, 68 behind Worsham, who lost in the second round to Brown.
In Funny Car, Force won his first race of the season and the 133rd of his career, as he took an automatic win light when final round opponent Matt Hagan fouled at the start in his Mopar/DieHard Dodge Charger. Force finished in 4.361 seconds at 285.23 mph in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to claim his sixth win in nine career finals at Bandimere.
In the first three rounds Force raced past Tony Pedregon, series leader and teammate Mike Neff and Jeff Arend to advance to a record 214th career final round.
Neff, who became the first Funny Car driver to secure a Countdown playoff berth during the weekend, maintained his series lead, 192 points ahead of teammate Robert Hight. Force climbed from eighth to seventh in the standings with his victory.
Edwards scored his third win of the season and 31st of his career by holding off Bandimere Pro Stock dominator Allen Johnson in the final round. Edwards ran 6.970 seconds at 197.56 mph in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP in the final but ultimately wouldn’t need the strong performance as Johnson turned on a rare red light at the start in his Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger.
With the win, Edwards trimmed Jason Line's series lead to six points.
Stoffer ended a four-year winless drought in Pro Stock Motorcycle as she sped to her sixth career victory with a 7.283 seconds at 182.58 mph on her Geico/Powersports Suzuki and held off fellow Suzuki rider Michael Phillips, who trailed with a 7.394 seconds at 182.01 mph on his Racers Edge sponsored bike.
With the victory, Stoffer regained the series lead and moves 33 points ahead of Krawiec with three bike races remaining until the playoffs.