Englishtown: Lucas Oil Racing final report

Lucas Oil team looking for more power, better luck after Englishtown ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 13) -- After having one of the most dominant Pro Stock Motorcycles in the NHRA Full Throttle Series for the last 12 months, Hector Arana suddenly finds...

Lucas Oil team looking for more power, better luck after Englishtown

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 13) -- After having one of the most dominant Pro Stock Motorcycles in the NHRA Full Throttle Series for the last 12 months, Hector Arana suddenly finds himself looking for some more horsepower for the Lucas Oil Buell.

The defending series champion made it to the second round of Sunday's eliminations at the 41st annual NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park where he lost by a wheel to the Suzuki of Chicago winner LE Tonglet.

"Those Suzukis are getting closer to where they are really dialing in those bigger motors," Arana said. "They starting to run really fast in the back half."

Against Tonglet, the two bikes were dead-even at half track, before Tonglet's late burst that gave him an .008-second victory at the finish line. Tonglet crossed in 6.965 seconds at 192.00 mph to Arana's 6.973 at 191.35 mph.

"Those things just happen," Arana said. "He's on a roll. I can't win them all. We need to find more horsepower to keep up with the Suzukis.

"I've been watching the whole event carefully and the Suzukis all had better back halves than I did. I had some better overall ETs, but that's because I had the better front half. We've got some work to do."

For the rest of the Lucas Oil team, Sunday in Englishtown seemed more like a trip to the "Twilight Zone" rather than the racetrack.

The Lucas Oil/Speedco Top Fuel dragster was solid through qualifying, but another malfunction in the parachute system doomed driver Shawn Langdon and his team.

Against teammate Morgan Lucas in the first round, Langdon's car didn't even make it to the starting line. A breakdown in the parachute system's safety override prevented the car from turning over. When the crew tried to reset the system, the 'chutes deployed and ended any chances of Langdon making a run.

"It's frustrating," Langdon said. "We've finally got the car where it's making consistent runs during the weekend, and now these little mistakes have killed us lately. We've got to be running out of bad luck, so we'll look to step it up in Bristol next week."

Last week in Chicago, Langdon's 'chutes deployed at about 800 feet, slowing what would have been a winning run.

For Pro Stock's Larry Morgan it was an error by the NHRA, not his Lucas Oil Ford Mustang crew, that put a damper on his day. Morgan and opponent Greg Anderson were the first pair of Pro Stocks down the track, and NHRA officials had forgotten to reset the clocks from the 1,000 foot fuel car distance to the Pro Stock's quarter-mile track.

Morgan cut a .012 second light, getting a huge advantage off the starting line, and was still ahead at the 1,000 foot mark, turning on the win light. However, Anderson clearly was leading at the quarter-mile mark and was quickly declared the winner of the race after officials realized their mistake.

Although the veteran racer was disappointed with the loss, Morgan was pleased with the way the car performed all weekend.

"I lost by .0008 seconds, that's about three-quarters of an inch," Morgan said. "But do you know what? I'm excited. We're on the road to recovery. We haven't had to replace a part in this engine for two weeks. Hopefully we'll be able to roll that momentum into next week."

Next on the schedule for Top Fuel and Pro Stock is the June 18-20 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. The Pro Stock Motorcycles don't hit the track again until the June 24-27 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

-source: lor

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Morgan Lucas , LE Tonglet