Columbus: Morgan Lucas final summary

LUCAS ADVANCES TO THIRD-PLACE IN NHRA POWERADE POINTS COLUMBUS, OH. (May 22) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, moved up to third place in the NHRA POWERade point standings after his semi-final finish at today's Pontiac...

LUCAS ADVANCES TO THIRD-PLACE IN NHRA POWERADE POINTS

COLUMBUS, OH. (May 22) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, moved up to third place in the NHRA POWERade point standings after his semi-final finish at today's Pontiac Performance Nationals. He has now accumulated 502 points advancing past, Larry Dixon, who has 497 points and kept chaser, David Grubnic with 479 points, at bay with a win over his Kalitta-based team in the quarterfinals.

Lucas qualified sixth for the race with a time of 4.600 seconds, along with a speed of 321.04 mph and faced Scott Weis in the first round of Sunday's eliminations.

On that first round pass, Lucas reacted first and made quick work of Weis, motoring past him by improving on his qualifying round time with a 4.566 ET, 324.05 mph pass to Weis' time of 4.765 seconds, 287.23 mph and thus advancing to the 12th quarterfinal round appearance of his young career racing against Grubnic.

Heading into the race at National Trail Raceway, Lucas had a five-point margin in the Top Fuel standings over Grubnic in a major battle for fourth position. They went head-to-head for the third time in Lucas' drag racing career with Morgan dominating the run on the quarter-mile and coming out victorious, running his quickest elapsed time of the weekend clicking the clocks to the tune of 4.556 seconds, 323.19 mph to Grubnic's tire-smoking time of 10.959 seconds, 76.19 mph.

Lucas had an opportunity to stop current POWERade points leader, Doug Kalitta's progression with his match up in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, when the lights went green his Lucas Oil dragster suddenly lost power leaving him helpless to combat a possible pedaling contest. Kalitta struggled to get down the track after losing traction almost immediately, which gave Lucas' opponent a time of 4.989 seconds, 306.53 mph to Morgan's time of 17.070 seconds, 36.60 mph.

"We pretty much had them covered, the car was running great," said a smiling, but disappointed Lucas. "The driveshaft was right on target, according to the computer ready to set low ET of the race. A little screw broke on the front of the blower and hung the intake valve open causing a backfire.

"There's a horseshoe full of luck and unfortunately our pit hasn't seen it this year, but I'm sure it will. When it does come by, we hope we can capitalize on it by winning the race and getting us back in the points chase. After this race, we are 182 points out, and although that's a pretty big stretch, the summer races are coming up and they all aren't going to be overcast like today. I'll tell you what; there are three Kalitta cars and only one of us. We're like the Mighty Mouse of the situation. Overall, we're going to be just fine. They don't run as well in the heat as we do. We tested in Atlanta last week and found a great hot track combination. Once the heat gets here, we'll be all right."

Another motivating factor for Lucas was his desire to defend his predecessor's last win in the Top Fuel division, honoring Darrell Russell's name at National Trail Raceway by replicating Russell's dramatic win in Columbus last year. That was deep in his thoughts the entire weekend.

"We always do, he's in our hearts all the time," stated Lucas. "We have to do what we have to do to win a race for him. We know he would help us anyway, he can. Things like that happened to us today, you can't control them. You know what, if anybody would say, that's drag racing; it would be him."

Morgan Lucas and the Lucas Oil Top Fuel team's next NHRA National event is the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka starting on May 27-29.

-mlr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Scott Weis , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Morgan Lucas