0

Massey claims Nationals crown

Special Photo Douglasville’s Mason Massey claimed a national title in the Pro division after winning the Legends Asphalt Nationals at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend.

Special Photo Douglasville’s Mason Massey claimed a national title in the Pro division after winning the Legends Asphalt Nationals at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend.

HAMPTON — For Mason Massey, the third time was indeed the charm.

The 15-year old Thursday Thunder Pro division champion capped off a successful season by capturing the checkered flag at the 21st Annual Legends Asphalt Nationals at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, netting him a national title in the Nationals’ pro division.

And given the circumstances during last year’s Nationals in Las Vegas — Massey wrecked, preventing him from finishing the race — Massey said this time around is especially sweet.

“This felt very good especially from what happened last year,” Massey said. “Last year we had an awesome race car, we qualified second and crashed in the second lap of the race. This year we qualified first, started first. The whole team worked hard all weekend to lead us up this right here.”

The 15-year-old development driver for Bill Elliot Racing, kept his No. 15 Legend car — sponsored by Jeff Foxworthy Full Force Energy Shot — out in front for the entire 40 laps of the race. And only one car was really able to keep things interesting for a little while.

“The 38 car started third behind me,” Massey said. “He stayed on me for a while, but we were very loose off the turn and at around the 25th lap I found a line that helped me pull away.”

Massey said he won the race by about three car lengths.

More than just his masterful driving in the weekend’s big race, Massey attributes his ability to finish virtually unchallenged to his familiarity with the AMS track.

The Douglasville driver has spent a lot of time on the quarter mile ring this season, most recently this summer when he picked up a pro division championship during the summer’s Thursday Thunder series.

There, he competed mostly against drivers from Georgia and other parts of the Southeast. But in the Asphalt Nationals, Massey faced drivers from places as far as Canada.

“It was really tough to face these different drivers,” Massey said. “Everyone from all over is really good. But being on my home race track, I felt I had an advantage on the field. I just did my thing and won the race.”

The 2012 racing season officially concluded with that win for Massey. And while he’ll have a little downtime from racing before the AMS Winter Series begins in January, Massey said his competitive motor will not cease.

He plans to run late models and legend cars again next season. He’ll stay sharp by competing in a late model race in December. And while more championships are no doubt the ultimate goal, Massey said he’ll take some time to just focus on himself.

“I’ll keep working the track,” he said. “I’ll find ways to make the race car better as well as myself.”