Final-four finish for Lucas lifts GEICO Powersports drag race team HOUSTON (April 11) -- Top Fuel racer Morgan Lucas recorded his second semifinal finish of the year Sunday at Houston Raceway Park, beating Steve Torrence and Brandon Bernstein...
Final-four finish for Lucas lifts GEICO Powersports drag race team
HOUSTON (April 11) -- Top Fuel racer Morgan Lucas recorded his second semifinal finish of the year Sunday at Houston Raceway Park, beating Steve Torrence and Brandon Bernstein at the 23rd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals to lead the charge for the GEICO Powersports race team.
For her part, GEICO Powersports Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer went two rounds on her national-record-setting Suzuki to remain in the lead pack in her class.
After two days of agreeable cool weather, things heated up at HRP once eliminations started, causing fits for many of the high-powered nitro teams. Even so, Lucas managed to beat an out-of-shape Torrence with a 3.965 at 305.29 mph and a broken Bernstein to reach the final four. The Bernstein race was over before it started when Bernstein couldn't back up from his prerace burnout.
"Some times it's better to be lucky than good," said Lucas, who went on to lose in the semifinals to point leader Antron Brown by a 3.873 to 4.006 margin.
"At least we kept Antron honest getting it down that right lane. We're going through a process of elimination, trying to find a way to make the tuning window a little bigger. We made some changes in the bell housing and they seem to be working. We may have gotten onto it a little late this weekend but we think we know what to do moving forward."
Stoffer got a free pass in Round 1 when opponent LE Tonglet jumped the start by -.026 seconds and was disqualified. Stoffer would have been tough to beat anyway as she went 6.939 at 192.88 mph against Tonglet's 6.986 at 192.17 mph.
She then faced three-time world champion Andrew Hines, only this time her GEICO Powersports Suzuki slowed slightly to a 6.984 at 188.60 mph, not quite enough for Hines' 6.938 at 193.02 mph.
"We found a major problem since Gainesville, corrected it, and we've now gone down the track four times in a row, which we couldn't do before," Stoffer said. "If I can perfect my riding now we'll be in great shape. We're getting there.J
"Some riders start in the prone position and then go into their tuck. Others start in the tuck and just stay there, which is what I did for years. I had an issue with being too quick at the tree and red-lighting so I changed the way I ride and now I start in the prone position and then come down.J
"What I'm learning is that if you don't come down exactly straight you can throw off the balance of the chassis. Or if there is something else going on then that problem will be compounded by the way you come down. I just need to get myself straight and we'll be fine."
Lucas will now take aim at the 11th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stoffer's next race comes April 30-May 2 at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis.