Can Massel’s turbocharged machines boost him to a third championship?
National Dragster, Issue 3 – Volume 54 – February 8th, 2013
Last year, Bruno Massel Jr. became just the sixth driver in the 47-year history of Comp eliminator to win more than one season championship after guiding his turbocharged Cobalt to the top of the points for the second time in four seasons.
Late last season, Massel and his father unveiled a new dragster that used the same turbocharged four-cylinder GM Ecotec powerplant and immediately shot to the top of the qualifying sheets, setting off an uproar. The car’s race-day performance was spotty, and the car was sidelined for further development.
The Massels will begin their third title defense with both cars at their disposal and the plan for a two-pronged attack that will allow them to seamlessly switch between entries depending on track and atmospheric conditions. AutoGeek.net returns as the primary sponsor, and Lucas Oil has increased its involvement with the team and brought along MavTV as another backer.
Can Massel repeat?
Only Norwin Palmer, Coleman Roddy, Bill Maropulos, Andy Manna Jr., and Dean Carter also have two championship trophies, and only Maropulos has three. And only two drivers — Roddy (1983-84) and Carter (2003-04) — won their titles back to back. Massel would like to join both of those exclusive clubs, and it won’t be easy, but he’s very motivated to make it happen.
“We have two pretty good cars,” he assessed. “The dragster has a lot more potential than the door car, but we know the door car like the back of our hand, so it’s a bit of a trade-off right now. There are still some question marks on things we don’t have locked down yet. We’ll probably run the door car at points meets because my dad could get that car down a dirt road if he had to, but, then again, if we get a hot hand with one car, we’d probably stick with it. There’s still a lot of wrinkles to iron out.
“I think we’re pointed in the right direction, and I feel pretty good about our chances to defend our championship,” he said. “I about killed my dad last year with eight straight weeks of racing, but he says he’s good for another year, which is good for me. He has so much experience, and I think we make a good team. I’m much better with him than without him, so if he’s going to give me another year, I need to go for it, to give him at least one more run at it.
“We’ve run the Cobalt for six years now; I’m more comfortable in it than I am my own bed. Winning races is tough, let alone the championship. Everything has to fall together. The reality is that there are so many good racers out there; anyone can beat you, or you can beat yourself — you just have to get on a roll. If you get on a roll, you’ve got a shot.”
Who could challenge him?
To hear Massel tell it, just about anyone, from the familiar to the not-so famous. “If