NHRA: Massey, Beckman, Line Top Houston Qualifying

Spencer Massey
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Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) scored top qualifier honors in Saturday's final qualifying sessions for Sunday's 28th annual NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas.

All three drivers etched their names in the track record book as part of a record-setting qualifying session in the hot humid conditions near Houston, Texas.

Texas native Spencer Massey set both ends of the record book with a pass of 3.734 at 330.07 on Friday that broke both the track ET and speed records.

Massey's run bested the previous ET of 3.772 set by Larry Dixon in 2010 and the 328.86 top speed set just last year by Steve Torrence.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Massey hit the track as the second-to-last pair of the Friday evening session and knocked Tony Schumacher off the top spot. None of the top five qualifiers were able to improve on their time in Saturdays sessions as Massey collected his eighth NHRA no. 1 qualifier and his first since 2013.

"It's definitely awesome to come to the home state track and run well," said Massey. "Being number one qualifier here in Texas is huge for this team because we haven't been the number one qualifiers since 2013 so for (crew chiefs) Todd (Okuhara), Phil (Shuler) and this entire Red Fuel team it's awesome to come out here and be number one.

"I've been to a lot of races in Houston, helping out friends with their cars, but I really, really want to get a win there for myself and all of my family and friends that will be coming out."

Schumacher held onto the second position with an ET of 3.754 at 326.24 mph. Richie Crampton was third with a 3.758, 323.66, followed by Doug Kalitta (3.760, 324.12) and Shawn Langdon (3.760, 320.81)

Kebin Kinsley took the bump spot and will make his NHRA Top Fuel debut against Massey on Sunday. Kinsley bumped out Terry McMillen, who posted his second DNQ of the season.

Spencer Massey
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"Fast" Jack Beckman lived up to his nickname as he became the first Funny Car driver in to post a three-second pass in track history, clocking in with a 3.988 at 318.17 mph in Friday's evening session that went untouched on Saturday to earn him his 11th-career top qualifier. The record-setting pass shattered the previous mark of 4.021 set back in 2010 by John Force.

Beckman's time was just two one-thousandths slower than his career-best time 3.986 set back in 2012 at Reading, and earned him his first no. 1 qualifier since Brainerd in 2013.

"I feel really confident," Beckman said. "I've always felt I could win the next race I go to because DSR always gives us the best ability to do that. I always feared pulling up next to (crew chief) Jimmy Prock's car on race day even if I had driven a car that had performed better. Now I'm taking a lot of comfort in the fact that we might be doing that to the people in the other lane."

Beckman was the only driver to qualify under four seconds, with second-place qualifier Del Worsham posting a time of 4.023, 314.97. Ron Capps was third running 4.038 at a track-record 319.67 mph. Alexis DeJoria (4.041, 310.77) and Tim Wilkerson (4.041, 312.57) rounded out the top five.

Terry Haddock took the bump spot to face Beckman in the opening round on Sunday. Haddock bumped out Todd Simpson who was the only driver to miss the race.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The Pro Stock division provided the only real excitement on the second day of qualifying as two-time Sprint Nationals winner Jason Line roared back in Saturday's final session to re-claim the top qualifying spot with a blistering pass of 212.33 at 212.33 mph to break the track ET record en route to his second-straight no. 1 qualifier and 40th of his career.

Line had held to top spot after Friday's opening round before getting bumped by Shane Gray in the evening session. In Saturday's opening session, Line and Gray hit the track as the final pair and traded the lead again, with Line bumping Gray by .011 seconds.

In the final session, Line and Gray again made up the final pairing, with Line holding the no. 1 spot and breaking the previous best of 6.539 set in 2010 by Mike Edwards.

"People always say I whine about not making a good run, but I made a good run that time," Line said. "It was bad to the bone. It might need a little ice after that one. This is about as excited as I get. We actually put on some new parts today and we're definitely better. Going forward we're going to be tough."

Gray was second with a time of 6.536 at 211.56mph. Greg Anderson (6.540, 212.13), Erica Enders-Stevens (6.540, 211.99) and Drew Skillman (6.540, 211.43) made up the rest of the top five.

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