Texan Beats Lagana Family’s ‘Nitro Ninja’ in Final Round; Young Wins Nostalgia TF

Texan Spencer Massey repeated as Top Fuel champion at the US 131 Northern Nationals Saturday, negotiating Michigan’s fastest track in 3.931 seconds at 290.14 miles per hour to defeat rookie Gary Pritchett, who trailed by just .004 of a second in his first time out in the Lagana Family’s track record-holding “Nitro Ninja” dragster.

Massey, an 18-time NHRA tour winner and former Rookie of the Year, drove Pat Dakin’s Commercial Metal Specialties entry into the winners’ circle for the second straight year, winning a shootout that also involved former NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car World Champion Del Worsham of Villa Park, CA, and Krista Baldwin of Pittsboro, IN, the granddaughter of drag racing legend Chris “The Greek” Karamesines.

Other winners included former Bakersfield March Meet winner Jim Young of Salem, WI, who prevailed in the Nostalgia Top Fuel class and two-time IHRA champion Elaine Larsen of Palm Bay, FL, who beat teammate Josette Roach in an all-female final in the Jet Dragster category.

Pritchett, who this week returns to his day job as clutch tech of the Capco Contractors dragster driven by four-time reigning World Champion Steve Torrence and tuned by Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana Jr., actually grabbed the early lead on Massey in the showdown round with a .064 of a second reaction time but, at the finish, had to settle for second place as did Clay Millican when he drove the “Ninja” at the 2021 event.

Stan Jones of Byron Center and Holland’s Jim Sebright were the big winners in the Lane Automotive Bracket Series, Jones winning in Modified and Sebright in Top ET.  Saturday Jr. Dragster winners were Coleman Hansen of Crystal, Lexie Klinger of Paw Paw and Ethan Russell of Adrian.

The two-day event also featured nostalgia Funny Cars and the Guinness record-holding PT Cruiser wheelstander of Canadian “Nitro Mike” Kunz.  Another round of the Lane Automotive Series was scheduled Sunday running all classes except Street.  Unfortunately, it was cut short due to rain.

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MARTIN, MI – Results from Saturday’s US 131 Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park.  Hometowns are Michigan unless otherwise indicated.  Results include reaction time, track time in relation to target time (when applicable) and finish line speed:

TOP FUEL – Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, TX, .085, 3.931, 290.14 mph, def. Gary Pritchett, Avon, IN, .064, 3.956, 310.77 mph.  Semifinalists – Del Worsham, Villa Park, CA, and Krista Baldwin, Pittsboro, IN.

NOSTALGIA TOP FUEL – Jim Young, Salem, WI, .120, 5.717, 250.42 mph, def. Mike Taylor, Berwyn, IL, .107, 6.548, 151.36 mph.  Semifinalists – Shawn Bowen, Goodrich, and Jason Greenwood, Racine, WI.

JET DRAGSTER – Elaine Larsen, Palm Bay, FL, .115, 5.937, 267.06 mph, def. Josette Roach, Palm Bay, FL, .615, 5.992, 265.96 mph.

WHEELSTANDER – “Nitro Mike” Kunz, Summerland, B.C., 12.210, 110.29 mph.

MODIFIED – Stan Jones, Byron Center, .050, 5.780 on a 5.720, 110.55 mph, def. Deegan Orr, Walker, .139, 8.995 on an 8.920, 82.01 mph.  Semifinalist – Mark Howard, Hamilton.

TOP ET – Jim Sebright, Holland, .036, 6.307, 108.51 mph, def. Ken Bosch, Holland, .065, 5.490 on a 5.480, 124.38 mph.  Semifinalist – Brooke Nellis, Muskegon.

MASTER JR. DRAGSTER – Coleman Hansen, Crystal, .025, 7.961 on a 7.930, 81.05 mph, def. Alayna Thompson, Grand Haven, .117, 8.003 breakout on an 8.050, 80/01 mph.  Semifinalist – Elizabeth Teter, Watervliet.

ADVANCED JR. DRAGSTER – Lexie Klinger, Paw Paw, .004, 8.955 on an 8.900, 73.18 mph, def. Kenzie Wanamaker, Otsego, .054, 8.975 on an 8.920, 72.22 mph.  Semifinalist – Ellie Vesper, Milan.

BEGINNER JR. DRAGSTER – Ethan Russell, Adrian, .005, 11.974 on an 11.900. 55.00 mph, def. Bo Wesler, Kalamazoo, foul.  Semifinalists – Aspyn Kaupa, Muskegon, and Kamryn Sebright, Holland.