POMONA, Calif. - Morgan Lucas and the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster start the new season and Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals from the No. 12 spot after a best qualifying pass of 3.814 seconds at 325.06 mph.
"We've put a real spotlight on consistency heading into this season," Lucas said. "We're still trying to get the car to move a little bit better early in the run, because we think that's what we really need right now. Overall the GEICO dragster is going down the racetrack and we're making gains for the big picture."
"Anytime the weekend is odd, it just means there's more to remember about it," Lucas said.
"I feel a lot better today than I did Friday and I'm sure I'll feel just that much better tomorrow. Despite it all, my lights have been consistent.
"We just have to go up there, listen to the car to give it what it needs and be ready to race whatever the conditions offer us."
Lucas faces a familiar foe in the first round in David Grubnic. Lucas and Grubnic crossed swords several times during the 2012 season, and Lucas said he's due for an equalizer.
"I think I owe him one from the last time we raced," Lucas said. "He did do me a favor in West Palm Beach (Fla.) during testing and got behind the wheel for me to test my car. It's pretty funny, I'm sure there's going to be some ribbing before driver introductions tomorrow."
Grubnic qualified fifth with a best pass of 3.776 seconds at 299.40 mph.
Weather conditions might make a change for the cooler overnight, which has Lucas and the GEICO team licking their chops.
"It's supposed to be the coolest day of the weekend," Lucas said. "If there's any cloud cover, we definitely know how to make the car haul in those kind of conditions. We know it's not going to be easy, but we know we can compete with anybody out there."