From an early age, Mason Massey knew he wanted to be a NASCAR driver. But several times he was on the verge of quitting.
“When I was about 16, I started thinking maybe it wouldn’t happen,” Massey told NASCAR.com. “I never completely gave up, but I started to realize that a lot of things had to happen for me to keep progressing.
“I knew I had the talent to be here, but it’s hard to find everything to fit in.”
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Now, at just 25, Massey is celebrating his 20th year of racing this season. So far, he’s been highlighted by a sixth-place finish with DGM Racing at his home track, Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The groundbreaking race and avoidance of some of the end-of-race mishaps could not have been better placed for the Massey family, as it was on the same track that he competed for victories in bandoleros and legendary cars. A native of nearby Douglasville, Georgia, he won multiple Thursday Thunder championships at AMS.
In 2012 Massey worked with Bill and Chase Elliott, driving a late model for Bill Elliott Racing in the South East. Together the team has won several times, including the Alabama 200.
After Massey’s strong run in Atlanta, the 2020 Cup champion gave Massey some words of encouragement on Twitter.
“I think (Massey has) done a really good job this year,” Elliott told NASCAR.com. “He’s not in a top car, but he’s been able to get some good results. When you’re in that position, being able to do all the laps and finish the races and keep yourself in a position to have a good day, I think that’s really important.
Prior to racing every oval for DGM Racing this season, Massey was with BJ McLeod Motorsports for 22 of his previous 23 Xfinity starts. He also ran seven Camping World Truck Series races in 2019 with Reaume Brothers Racing, which he says has gotten back on the map.
“I had already dropped out of NASCAR because I had competed in local dirt races in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee,” Massey added. “That opportunity with Josh came along and (Reaume) gave us a deal we couldn’t refuse.”
For the 2022 season, Massey knew he wanted an expanded role on the Xfinity series. Looking at the scenery, he was impressed by the DGM racing store in Florida. He has also seen the team grow over the past two seasons, battling for the top 15 every week.
Admittedly, the DGM opportunity is the best of Massey’s career. Unfortunately, the #91 car failed to qualify in its last two events in Charlotte and Nashville. Last weekend at Road America, Preston Pardus brought the No. 91 entry home 11th.
Whenever Massey is racing, he’s usually competitive, racing close to his DGM teammates. Aside from the top 10 in Atlanta, he is a top 20 effort in Richmond (17th) and Texas (18th).
“I think it’s been a good year,” said Mario Gosselin, DGM team owner and Massey crew chief. “He did a good job and had a few mishaps that weren’t his fault.”
Mayes Massey, Mason’s father, has been supporting his son since he started racing at age 5. As an independent business owner, he could take time off work when needed and spend long nights on the road, going from track to track with Mason. He hoped that this would eventually lead him to the promised land.
He wouldn’t trade that grind for anything.
“I’ve had so many friends tell me about the time and money we put into it,” Mayes Massey said. “I wouldn’t trade the money for the fun and the relationship I have with Mason for doing all of this. You cannot replace it. I would do it again tomorrow if he was 5, knowing what I know now. It was a fun ride. Running sixth in Atlanta was the icing on the cake. My wife said to me, ‘I don’t think I could be happier if he won the race.’ I said, ‘I think you could.’ ”
Massey returns to Atlanta this weekend with added confidence from his strong March run. He also knows that if one day he turns the right heads and makes a good impression, he might find himself another rung on the ladder.
This would be his looping moment.
“I wanted to be a Cup driver since I was little (kid),” he said. “Now that I have this opportunity, it seems a little more possible.”