Morgan Lucas claims title of Lucas Oil Nationals BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas said the only thing missing from his first professional-level victory earlier this year in Atlanta was his parents, Forrest and Charlotte...
Morgan Lucas claims title of Lucas Oil Nationals
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 16) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas said the only thing missing from his first professional-level victory earlier this year in Atlanta was his parents, Forrest and Charlotte Lucas. On Sunday, with his father on the starting line and his mother serving as trophy girl at the top end, Lucas won his family's namesake race -- the 28th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals -- to complete a dream weekend.
"My first win in Atlanta earlier this year was special but nothing compares to seeing my mom standing there crying when she handed me the trophy of the Lucas Oil Nationals down there at the top end," said Lucas, a resident of Brownsburg, Ind. "She's always been my biggest fan and her and dad missed the Atlanta race so this was their first one since I've been in Top Fuel.
"This is the best day of my life. I don't know what to do. We've already accomplished all the goals we set for the season. We've won races, we've run our career best numbers, we've qualified both cars for the playoffs today, we qualified No. 1 earlier this season -- these are the things we wanted to get done and now we have. I guess the way we're running right now, I might need to add a few more goals in there."
The memorable day started strong with Lucas running a strong 3.841 at 307.65 mph against legend Chris Karamesines, who went 4.118 at 298.01 mph.
Next, Lucas dismissed good friend Brandon Bernstein with a career-best pass of 3.833 seconds at 308.99 mph to Bernstein's 3.900 at 311.34 mph. The semifinals produced another career-best run as Lucas zipped to a 3.831 at 302.01 mph against Cory McClenathan, who posted a 3.846 at 316.45 mph.
With the trophy on the line, Lucas and his Jimmy Walsh-led GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil race team dug down deep and posted yet another career-best run, a 3.814 at 309.27 mph, to outrun two-time world champion Larry Dixon's 3.818 at 314.09 mph.
"The car has been incredible," Lucas said. "The guys on this team work so hard and it's cool to have the success we've been having this year because they deserve it. We're a family and we're having as much fun as we've ever had right now because we're working together and enjoying the ride. This is how it's meant to be."
Lucas' teammate, Shawn Langdon, struggled all weekend in his Lucas Oil/Dixie Chopper dragster. The best news for the rookie of the year candidate was that he managed to score another round win when he upset veteran Doug Kalitta in the first round with a 3.966 at 286.07 mph to Kalitta's 4.062 at 286.13 mph. The victory secured his place in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, which start in mid-September in Charlotte.
"This was just one of those weekends where nothing seemed to go right," said Langdon, who lost to McClenathan in the quarterfinals. "The cool thing was clinching a spot in the playoffs for the guys on this team because they have certainly earned a shot at the championship. It also was a ton of fun watching Morgan race through the field and seeing how happy Forrest and Charlotte were all day, especially in the winner's circle. That made my weekend right there.
"We'll be fine. The car was just being disagreeable for some reason but I know the guys will get it figured out before next weekend's race starts."
The NHRA tour quickly moves to Reading, Pa., for the 25th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, which begin Friday at Maple Grove Raceway.