DSR boys have something to prove
If you didn't know it already, statistics can be deceiving, especially in drag racing.
Don Schumacher Racing has the top three drivers in the Top Fuel standings heading into this weekend's event at Bristol Dragway -- Spencer Massey on top, seven-time champion Tony Schumacher only 34 points behind him and Antron Brown in third.
Massey is coming off an event at Englishtown, N.J., where he ran the quickest pass in NHRA history with a qualifying run at 3.728 seconds (329.91 mph). Massey already has the fastest speed ever at 332.18 mph earlier this year.
So all is good with the DSR dragster boys, right? Well, not exactly.
Despite the 1-2-3 ranking, the DSR trio hasn't won an NHRA event in two months -- four consecutive races without a victory. That didn't happen all last season.
Schumacher, who won his seventh NHRA championship in 2009, has gone 32 consecutive events without a victory, dating back to October 2010.
Schumacher won at Bristol two years ago, but Massey and Brown never have won at Thunder Valley. So the DSR guys are going to Bristol with a little something to prove.
After his record-setting run in qualifying at Englishtown, Massey lost in the semifinals to Steve Torrence by one-thousandth of a second when Torrence beat him off the starting line. Torrence, the surprise of the season, went on to win for the second time this year.
"That's a tough one to get over," Massey said. "I just feel bad because I let down my Prestone/FRAM team. These guys always give it 100 percent and I let them down."
Massey won three of the first five events this season (Pomona, Las Vegas and Charlotte), and Brown won at Phoenix in February.
But things have dried up, and the rest of the Top Fuel field is catching up. Morgan Lucas is fourth, only 96 points behind Massey and 14 points behind Brown in third. Torrence is fifth, 13 points behind Lucas.
"It's just been little things that have bit us the last few weeks," Brown said. "But we'll have our Aaron's/Matco dragster right and tight for Bristol."
Brown made it to the finals at Bristol last year before losing to Larry Dixon.
"Man, it doesn't matter what you did yesterday or last year," Brown said. "It only matters what you do today."
Schumacher knows the feeling. The most accomplished Top Fuel driver in history has raced well this season, but he's still looking for that elusive victory.
"Needless to say, we are way overdue to get to the winner's circle," Schumacher said. "People have been asking me if I have forgotten how to get there. In my mind, you never forget that path after you make the initial trip. And don't forget, we've been there 67 times. I'm confident it will all come back to us pretty quickly."
People have been asking me if I have forgotten how to get there. In my mind, you never forget that path after you make the initial trip. And don't forget, we've been there 67 times.” -- Tony Schumacher on reaching the winner's circle
Schumacher is winless in his past 10 final-round appearances, including three times this season.
"Even though we haven't won, there's no question we have one of the baddest hot rods out there right now," Schumacher said. "This new DSR chassis seems to be doing exactly what we want it to do. I look forward to taking it to Bristol to see what we can do there."
Schumacher has won three of the past four events at Bristol in his Army dragster. He has four Bristol wins overall, including his first one at the track in 2004.
"It's just one of those tracks I really enjoy racing," Schumacher said. "It's a beautiful facility with a great racing surface. If the weather gods cooperate, you can usually put up some good numbers. I certainly hope our history helps us there. We need to get that first win of the season out of the way."
Despite being winless at Bristol, Brown said the Tennessee track is one of his favorite stops of the year.
"I love going down there," Brown said. "What separates it from a lot of the places we go to is that there are so many passionate fans who attend the race. And the place is just incredible. It's an adrenaline rush to hear the sound of an 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel engine bouncing off the mountains that surround the track."
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