INDIANAPOLIS – Spencer Massey won twice Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway, and the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals aren't slated to start until Monday.
But Massey grabbed the $100,000 first prize by winning the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel, and he also claimed the provisional No. 1 qualifier for the class.
Courtney Force (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders.
Massey's 3.762-second pass at 324.51 mph was not only good enough to advance to the final round of the Traxxas Shootout, it also gave him the provisional Top Fuel lead heading into Sunday.
Massey then outran fellow Texan Steve Torrence in the final round of the Shootout.
"For Traxxas to come into our sport and put up this much money and add these two bonus races is awesome," Massey said. "I can't believe that we won it. We've wanted to win it since we qualified when we won the season opener and it's been a lot of pressure this week but it's been awesome to be able to say we won the first Traxxas Nitro Shootout."
Massey and Torrence have a friendly rivalry that dates bacl to their Sportsman days, but Massey left first and out-ran Torrence with a pass of 3.780 at 325.61 mph, beating Torrence's slowing pass of 4.840 seconds at 155.70 mph.
"Torrence's car has been running on a string all year long and I know he wanted to win this thing just as much as I did," Massey said. "When I hit the throttle the car started moving and I knew I was on a good ride. Then I crossed the finish line and saw the win light and I couldn't believe it. I'm so proud of my Prestone guys, they deserve this win."
If Massey holds onto the No. 1 position through Sunday's qualifying – and with an 80 percent chance of rain Sunday, it appears a solid bet –it will be his fourth of the season and seventh of his career.
Force ran a career-best ET of 4.049 seconds at 317.27 mph in her Traxxas Ford to earn her first provisional qualifying lead of her career during the final Funny Car session of the day.
"I have all the faith in the world in my guys," Force said. "They've been working hard all season, and to get a career best at Indy, it's huge. This is the one track that you want to say it at, and it's pretty cool that it's the Big Go and it's my career best, an awesome time, so we're excited."
The Funny Car Traxxas Nitro Shootout is scheduled for Sunday
Pro Stock qualifying was called early because of weather, so Enders held onto the qualifying lead thanks to her 6.624-second pass at 208.84 mph in her KLR Group Chevrolet from Friday's qualifying.
"It has been a really long day," Enders said. "We had been changing our setup back and forth. We thought we were going to run once, and then it started with the rain. And every time the weather comes in and things change, we have to re-assess our setup and go back and change everything. It's a tough time with a day like today, but we went out and made a pretty good run early in the day and were able to keep the number one spot, and that's exciting, so I'm proud of my guys."
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying was also cut short and Hines held onto the top spot with his Friday pass of 6.928 seconds at 194.21 mph on his Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson.
"Given the weather, I don't think we could have run any quicker but it would have been nice to get the data," Hines said. "I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow but I think we can keep the top spot. If it's slow, we're safe and if the conditions get better, we should be able to pick up. Our last run could have been better so we know there's more left."