BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug.19) - On Sunday, Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster, won for the third time this year in Top Fuel and the second time in his career at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
"Anytime you can win here, especially as involved as my Dad (Forrest Lucas) is with the race, is a dream come true," Lucas said. "Hopefully it's a sign for good things to come for."
The signs pointed to the possibility of a GEICO rail victory from the time the team opened the truck on Friday. The weekend weather broke cooler than in the past, which played to the car's strengths, and Lucas has a better track record and comfort level at BIR than at any other track on the circuit. The car qualified No. 4, and on Sunday returned to the racehorse form it showed when Lucas piloted it to four No. 1 qualifiers and wins in Gainesville and Houston earlier this season.
"You can't help but get a lot of confidence after an outing like this," Lucas said. "You never know with these cars. We had great car for a while in the beginning of the season. We had to change a couple of discs in the (clutch) package and it changed everything.
"My crew chief Aaron Brooks has done a great job of logically working through the problems and getting them fixed. A lot of hard work is starting to pay dividends."
Lucas beat Steve Torrence, Cory McClenathan, Tony Schumacher and then Antron Brown in the final. In the final against Brown, Lucas was off the starting line first for the fourth time in as many rounds, and he never looked back. Lucas crossed the finish line in 3.818 seconds at 316.90 mph, while Brown ended with a lap of 3.831 seconds at 313.80 mph.
Lucas said he was most proud of knocking out Tony Schumacher in the semfinals.
"That guy has always had my number," Lucas said. "It must be a 30-to-1 ratio of the times he's beaten me. Getting one back is nice. He's a great driver, but you want to beat everybody you race - it's what keeps you going."
Against Schumacher, Lucas ran a 3.812 at 323.19 mph to Schumacher's 3.819 at 322.42 mph. In Round 2, Lucas dropped a cylinder at about half-track but still had more than enough muscle to take out McClenathan. Lucas ran a 3.858 at 311.20 mph as McClenathan smoked and popped his way to a 6.460 at 96.69 mph.
"The racetrack was phenomenal today," Lucas said. "I'm not sure in any year prior to this you've seen cars going in the low 3.80s on a track that's 118 degrees. It's making racing a lot of fun for everybody."
The first-round race was no gimme against Torrence, a three-time winner on tour this year. In the coolest conditions of the day, Lucas ran a 3.788-second pass at 327.90 mph, which handled Torrence's 3.859 at 318.84 mph.
"In years past, you probably had five or six cars that could win a race," Lucas said. "Now you've got 12 cars that potentially win if they are firing on all eight. To me that says a lot about that class, makes it better for the fans and puts a lot more importance on the driver when it comes to reaction times and things like that."
Lucas walks away from Brainerd with more than just this third Wally of the season. With his first-round win, Lucas clinched a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, and in the second round, he moved up in to sixth place in the Top Fuel standings.
Source: GEiCO Lucas Oil Racing