DENVER'S ET AND SPEED MARKS BELONG TO LUCAS OIL RACING DENVER (July 12) -- Although Morgan Lucas has never raced professionally at Bandimere Speedway, site of this week's Mopar Parts NHRA Mile-High Nationals running on July 15-17, his car ...
DENVER'S ET AND SPEED MARKS BELONG TO LUCAS OIL RACING
DENVER (July 12) -- Although Morgan Lucas has never raced professionally at Bandimere Speedway, site of this week's Mopar Parts NHRA Mile-High Nationals running on July 15-17, his car owner, Joe Amato is known as the "King of the Mountain" with six wins at the track ('87, '89, '90, '91,'99, 2000). In fact, the Lucas Oil Racing team he drives for still owns all the Top Fuel records after his boss and Hall-of-Fame driver, Amato, set a record rapid pace of 4.584 seconds and an all-time Denver speed mark of 318.54 mph in July 1999. Now the 21-year old Lucas is ready to write a bit of his own history at the scenic dragstrip.
"Amato racing has all the Top Fuel track records at Bandimere Speedway," said an amazed Lucas. "It's like Bill Elliott of NASCAR fame setting the record at Talladega of 212.809 mph in 1987. It almost appears that those marks may be unreachable for a little while. NHRA is raising the nitromethane percentage to 90 per cent for this race and with the right conditions all that could change."
The displacement of oxygen in the Mile-High city places so much more importance on the tune-up of the engine as well as negatively affecting the race car's aerodynamics, conditions which add more responsibility on the broad shoulders of John Stewart and Jim Dupuy, co-crew chiefs of the Lucas Oil dragster
"We've got to give it everything its got, including the kitchen sink, to make it go down the track", said Lucas, describing the many changes it will take to get his 8,000 horsepower engine to run in the thin Denver air. "It hard to overcome the air issue and at the same time you don't get a lot of down force because there isn't enough air up there. Therefore, the power you do make, you have to be very careful how you get it down to the track. That's the key -- going down the racetrack."
After a stellar final round appearance in St. Louis, the Lucas Oil team feels they are doing well, and hope they can climb "The Mountain" and capture their first Top Fuel win.
As the NHRA enters the second half of its 23-race season, Lucas has eight first round wins followed by six quarterfinals triumphs, two semi-final round victories and two final round appearances placing him fifth in the POWERade Top Fuel points standings with 741.
Qualifying for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals starts on Friday, July 15 with sessions at 5 and 8 p.m. with Saturday's qualifying at 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday's eliminations start at 12 p.m., MDT, Sunday, July 17.