BRUNO MASSEL READY TO RUN FOR ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2023
After an abbreviated 2022 NHRA race season, Bruno Massel III is ready to make a run at his fourth career Comp world championship.
“We won the championship for ’21, and last year, we pulled back quite a bit, running just a handful of races. I needed to kind of reconnect with the family,” Massel said to CompetitionPlus.com. “This year, we’re going to go back after it and run a full season again. I ran just six races last year, and this year, we’ll hit some divisional races early and see where it puts us. If we have a shot, we’ll go after it; if not, we’ll focus on just the National events. Either way, I’m excited to race a full season once again.”
Massel will once again be behind the wheel of his twin-turbocharged Toyota 2JZ inline 6 powered altered.
“It’s the same combo we’ve run the past couple of seasons, although we’ve done quite a bit of work this offseason trying to refine the combination,” he said.
Massel III has proved his racing ability with multiple world titles, and he keeps plenty busy off the track hosting two DIY auto-buildup shows and serves as a pit reporter for NHRA on FOX national event coverage.
Massel’s inspiration back into full-time racing was helped along by bringing on new sponsors to his race program.
“Well, we debuted the Vital Brew Coffee partnership at Indy last year and I think it was well received, and as a result, they are back on board as our title sponsor for this season,” Massel said. “But I’ve got two new sponsors that I’m really excited to work with this coming season as well. McKee’s 37 Car Care Products is one of them. The owner Bob McKee and I have been friends for quite some time now. Bob was the founder and owner of Autogeek, and he sold the company back in 2016 to focus on his namesake brand. So, he and I kind of get a chance to reunite this year.
“We won a championship together in 2012, and we won U.S. Nationals in ’14 working together. So, it’s kind of like everything going full circle, getting a chance to reunite with the guy who gave me an opportunity when I really needed it. Bob stepped up for me in a huge, huge way back in 2011, and so it’s kind of cool that we get to reconnect so many years later.”
Massel has also added another sponsor for 2023 – Unruli.
“They manufacture cargo management systems for your pickup trucks,” Massel said. “I’ve worked with them before on one of my shows. I also did a commercial for them, and it’s actually airing nationally right now. You’ll see it on everything from FOX to MotorTrend and anywhere in between. They’ve developed a number of different storage systems with an integrated tonneau cover for the back of your pickup truck; It’s really a trick setup! I’m thrilled to introduce both of these companies to the fans and sport of NHRA drag racing. It an honor that they chose my program to help showcase their products.”
With his racing program tuned up and ready to go, Massel is anxious to get things rolling.
“The thing is, when I won the championship in ’21, there was a lot going on, a lot more than people know,” Massel said. “My dad was sick; I had business stuff going sideways; I was just going in a hundred different directions. I really needed the last year to kind of reconnect family-wise, get priorities in order, and kind of regroup a little bit. And now things are in a much better place all the way around, and then with the support of these companies, it’s like I’ve got the opportunity to go out and chase this. I’ve convinced my buddy and crew chief Darrel Herron, to stand in my lane again, and with the support of fellow sponsors Mobile Environmental Solutions, Garret Turbos, Hyperaktive, Mazworx, Fleetwood Tools, and NBS, I’d be stupid not to take another shot.
“So, I can go ahead with a clear head, I believe I’ve got all my ducks in a row, and now it’s time to go have some fun again.”
In addition to his full Comp schedule, Massel said he’s trying to put together a limited Pro Stock schedule in 2023.
“We are talking with Mark Stockseth, who’s been my backer in the Pro Stock category, he and Elite Motorsports, we’re just trying to put something together,” Massel said. “The goal is to try and just race (Pro Stock) at my home race Joliet, Ill., Route 66 Raceway’s coming back this year, and be able to run Pro Stock and my Comp car there would be great. To be able to race Pro Stock in front of my family and friends here locally would just be a dream come true. (Elite Motorsports) has so many cars and so many teams going right now... trying to get their stuff up and running and service their full-time clients and customers, and then try and give me an opportunity to go back and have some fun in a Pro Stock car as well.”