MORGAN LUCAS NO. 1 QUALIFIER IN ATLANTA Sophomore Driver Claims His First NHRA Low Qualifier COMMERCE, Ga. (May 14) -- In just his 15th professional NHRA Top Fuel start, Morgan Lucas' racing career keeps soaring to the top. He proved that ...
MORGAN LUCAS NO. 1 QUALIFIER IN ATLANTA
Sophomore Driver Claims His First NHRA Low Qualifier
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 14) -- In just his 15th professional NHRA Top Fuel start, Morgan Lucas' racing career keeps soaring to the top. He proved that point again on his final qualifying pass at the 25th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway when he drove his Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster to his first No. 1 qualifying position running a time of 4.541 seconds at a career-tying speed of 326.40 mph.
"When I got out of the car at the top end and heard I was the No. 1 qualifier, it was music to my ears," said a jubilant Lucas. "I really couldn't believe it. We wanted to move up to a better starting position on that pass and the car marched down the track. To hold off those other teams within a hundredth of a second is pretty stout and says something about our Lucas Oil team.
"It looks like we're right on target and I hope we can continue it. I'm just glad the car is going down the quarter-mile and I feel we do have a real 'hot rod' for the race tomorrow.
Crew chief, Wayne Dupuy debuted a new car for the Atlanta race, which is a mirror image to the Brad Hadman chassis that the Lucas Oil team campaigned last year. On his great qualifying pass, Lucas had to muscle the car to keep it straight to the finish line.
"This car will lift the front wheels and move to the right and when the car settles down it takes off the left," Lucas said describing his pole-winning run. "It's an experience I have to learn and the team is trying to bring the car to me and me to the car. This dragster is a replica of Darrell's (Russell) car and I feel he was definitely riding with us helping us get down the track."
Car owner, Joe Amato was extremely happy with the qualifying outcome and he should know a thing or two about Top Fuel racing with five NHRA championships to his name, a career-category leading 52 wins out of 99 final round appearances and has claimed himself 56 low qualifier awards during his 18 years of driving. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall-of-Fame in Talladega, Alabama on April 28 of this year.
"It's been a tough road since we lost Darrell last year and I feel he was with us today and that's something we're all thankful for with Morgan being No. 1," said Amato. "I know Morgan has the driving talent and Wayne's choice in getting this particular car built to his specs shows we have a great team and great sponsor. We're so pleased by the results of the day."
This being his first No. 1 low qualifier, Lucas is now the one the field will be gunning for when eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sunday. It's a position he relishes after his fast rise in qualifying and knows what it is like to be the chaser. He will race No. 16 qualifier, Bobby Laguna in the first round of Sunday's eliminations.
"I've play racing games on my Playstation and it's always fun to be the second place racer chasing down the leader," said Lucas. "It's always more fun if you can beat him. From that aspect, it's a big feeling of relief and accomplishment when you stay No. 1 and you actually win. So hopefully we can do that tomorrow and get our first victory as a team."
Two of Morgan's biggest supporters are his parents, Forrest and Charlotte Lucas, owners of Lucas Oil Products. Although his dad could not be there in person, he was contacted by his son via phone and was very excited about the progress of his son. His mother, who witnessed the run, was ecstatic
"Top Fuel is something I've witnessed since I was 10-years old going to the drag races for the first time with my parents," said Lucas, who is now 21. "I called my Dad and he was just jazzed and my Mom was ready to break down in tears. It's a big deal and for us and to do this is huge. I know we have three runner-up finishes, but being the No. 1 qualifier and the quickest car out of all 16 Top Fuel dragsters for the Atlanta race is big for me."
In fact, he's ready to make Hot'lanta sizzle in Sunday's eliminations.
ESPN2's NHRA2Day will feature Lucas's pole-winning pass at 11:30 a.m. EDT followed by the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals final round eliminations airing at 7 p.m.