The world of NHRA Stock Eliminator class racing can be one of the most brutal in all of sportsman drag racing. With very strict rules racers must find ways to maximize their car to run under the class index and be consistent bracket machines at the same time. Brian Massingill, Director of Student Motorsports at the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology (SAM Tech) pilots a COPO Camaro for the school, and picked up a class win at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.
At a handful of events on the NHRA national event tour in the Stock Eliminator class there are races-within-a-race known as class eliminations. What makes the Stock Eliminator class racing different is that it’s heads up, so there are no indexes or staggered starts in play. Massingill was able to qualify number one in his Factory Stock/C class by running a 9.132 at 146.29 mph, a full 1.168-seconds under the class index of 9.30.
Getting a win in class competition can be a challenge if some other heavy hitters in your category show up, but Massingill was ready. “Class racing is where the engine builder and tuner get to show what they can do. We weren’t letting it all hang out, because if we run 1.20-seconds under the index, we get horsepower added to the combination, and then we would have to add weight to the car. Typically, for class racing, between rounds we chill the engine, put zero-weight oil in it and try to make the car 10 pounds over the minimum weight. Because we have already run into the 8.90s with this car, we had to slow it down and put it in more of a bracket mode as to not hit the horsepower by running a 9.10 or quicker,” Massingill explains.
In the class finals at the Texas event Massingill had a very tough matchup with Jeff Lopez, the 2016 U.S. Nationals champion in Stock. When the dust settled, Massingill took the stripe by outrunning Lopez with a 9.179 to a slower 9.217-second elapsed time. This was Massingill’s seventh trip to a class final and fourth win behind the wheel of his COPO.
This win started at the SAM Tech shop according to Massingill: “We have a couple of engines that the students and instructors have built for this car. The students also work on the tunes between rounds based on what the car did on the last pass and what the weather is doing. There is a delicate balance of wanting to be fast and needing to be consistent. For the class race though, we knew we had too much power, so that meant pulling timing, short shifting, and still keeping a fender on Lopez.”
This was the final event of the year for Massingill, so ending with a win will be a positive push into the offseason for his team. Look for the SAM Tech COPO to continue its winning ways in 2017 with Massingill behind the wheel!