COMMENTARY | It is a plot straight out of blockbuster Hollywood sports flick.
One minute on top of the world, the next hitting rock bottom only be to redeemed by your coach/owner/mentor and given a second chance.
But this is no Hollywood script -- it is the very real story of Spencer Massey.
The extremely personable and very media friendly driver out of the National Hot Rod Association's premier Top Fuel class, Massey has been on a whirlwind of a ride even more intense than the 320-mph passes he makes on a weekly basis.
It is hard to believe, but just five months ago Top Fuel ace Spencer Massey was without a ride.
Just days after finishing third in the NHRA Top Fuel standings behind teammates Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher following the 2012 season, Massey was given his pink slip by team owner Don Schumacher for reasons that still have not fully been brought to light.
The only thing that is positively known is that words were exchanged, alcohol was involved and it all happened during the NHRA awards ceremony at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif.
While we may never know for certain what happened during that celebratory day in the heart of Hollywood, what we do know is that what was supposed to be a joyful day for the 31-year-old racer out of Fort Worth, Texas, following his highest finish ever in drag racing's premier series, turned into his worst nightmare as Massey was suddenly on the sideline and his name was being dragged through the mud.
No one knew exactly what happened, but message boards and popular drag racing publications exploded with speculation that left Massey's reputation tarnished and had many wondering if he would ever be given a chance at the sports top level again.
Then, just as quickly and as oddly as Massey's departure took place, the young racer was rehired by the same man that sent him packing in February. Just two months after being fired by Don Schumacher racing, Schumacher himself rehired the talented racer and gave him a second chance.
With little said about the matter and both owner and driver considering the confrontation in November fully behind them, the team went to work, focusing on the 2013 NHRA Mellow Yellow Racing Series and another run at a title
Now, just eight months after being out of a job, Massey is once again in the hunt for an NHRA Top Fuel championship. Following his victory at the recently completed Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver, Massey currently sits third in the championships standings behind Shawn Langdon and teammate Tony Schumacher. He has three wins and has done some of his best driving to date during the 2013 season.
And it is all because one man gave him a second chance. Similar to the A.J. Allmendinger-Roger Penske story on the NASCAR side, it is heartwarming to see team owners putting racing aside and getting their star pupils the help they need. Simply giving these drivers a second chance speaks volumes about the men behind these teams and both Massey and Allmendinger are making the most of their second chances.
No matter how this Hollywood story unfolds, Massey is already a winner.
L.A. Crum is a professional writer and journalist from Ohio. He is an avid follower of motorsports and college athletics and has worked with many of the top teams and drivers in the racing industry during his decade long career. He is a proud graduate of Marshall University.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- National Hot Rod Association
- Tony Schumacher