Gainesville: Morgan Lucas Racing final report

Progress made in Gainesville GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15) -- Teammates Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon continue to keep their two-car operation ahead of the pace the team set one year ago after a pair of second-round finishes at the 40th ...

Progress made in Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15) -- Teammates Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon continue to keep their two-car operation ahead of the pace the team set one year ago after a pair of second-round finishes at the 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals.

The No. 9 qualifier, Lucas scored a slight upset over eighth place Joe Hartley in Round 1, posting a 4.041 at 296.37 mph against Hartley's tire-smoking 8.675 at 88.98 mph.

He then lined up against top qualifier Larry Dixon and, knowing he needed every advantage, pulled off a great .056-second reaction time to Dixon's .068-second start. The race was on from there and the two cars stayed side-by-side for most of the way down the 1,000-foot course with Dixon edging Lucas' GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster with a 3.885 at 311.77 mph to Lucas' 3.928 at 309.42 mph.

"That was just a great drag race," Lucas said. "We knew we wanted to go from A-to-B and make him beat us and, hat's off to that team over there, they got it done. We ran our best pass of the entire weekend and they even took the left lane, which blew me away because no one had gotten down that lane in front of us, but they still beat us.lsh

"I wanted to win but I'm still pleased with the progress we've made this weekend. Jimmy Walsh (crew chief) has a master plan and it's working and I know we're getting better. Even that run there was a little soft early on so we can get quicker. We just need to sneak up on it."

After a season-best sixth-place qualifying effort, Langdon started race day by crushing IHRA regular Terry McMillen with a 3.895 at 309.27 mph to McMillen's 4.056 at 298.01 mph. Langdon's elapsed time was the second quickest of the opening session.

In the quarterfinals, Langdon was foiled by a dodgy racing surface that was scraped between rounds. After a great .049-second reaction time, Langdon's Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster barely made it off the launch pad before being enveloped by tire smoke, handing the easy win to opponent Brandon Bernstein, who raced to a 3.935 at 315.42 mph to Langdon's coasting 10.806 at 78.42 mph.

"The car ran great all weekend and we were ready for that race with Brandon," Langdon said. "It was a little warmer so we backed it down from that 3.89 to what we thought would be a nice, safe 3.91 or 3.92, but the track wasn't there at all.

"I'm a rookie so it's all fun for me. I think this was a pretty good weekend. Both Morgan and I won a round and that keeps everyone in a good mood. I'm already looking forward to Houston."

Both Lucas and Langdon will remain in the top eight of the Full Throttle point standings. The next event on the schedule is the 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil, which runs March 27-29 at Houston Raceway Park.

-credit: mlr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas , Shawn Langdon , Terry McMillen