LUCAS POSTS SEMI-FINALS FINISH MEMPHIS (Aug. 20) -- At the start of the 19th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, the ambient temperature around the track hovered near the century degree mark, but on the track, it was a stifling 144 degrees.
LUCAS POSTS SEMI-FINALS FINISH
MEMPHIS (Aug. 20) -- At the start of the 19th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, the ambient temperature around the track hovered near the century degree mark, but on the track, it was a stifling 144 degrees. For Morgan Lucas, 22-year old driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, it was even hotter with his sizzling semi-finals performance at Memphis Motorsports Park on Sunday.
Lucas won his opening round in a pedal-fest against J.R. Todd as both dragsters lost traction, hazing their tires going down the track. Lucas and his John Stewart and Ronnie Thompson-led group secured their position in the quarterfinals with a run of 5.180 seconds, 240.77 mph to Todd's time of 5.225 seconds, 261.12 mph.
Then lightning flashed and things cooled off with a 16-hour rain delay after the completion of the first round of professional racing. NHRA officials were forced to postpone the race until the next day after consistent rain continued throughout the night.
When racing resumed on Monday morning under clear skies around 9 a.m. CDT, Lucas raced Bob Vandergriff in the quarterfinals, advancing the Brownsburg, Indiana resident to the semi-finals after winning the round with an elapsed time 4.637 seconds, 294.95 mph to Vandergriff's losing time of 4.720 seconds, 312.35 mph. Memphis is the site where Lucas won his first round ever of Top Fuel competition in 2004 against Vandergriff.
However, it was against Hillary Will that Lucas lost to in the semi-finals. He left first (.100 - .106 R/T) and was marching along side of her when his dragster suddenly lost power ending his race morning. Lucas coasted through the timing lights to run a time of 6.493 seconds, 129.94 mph to Will's winning time of 4.657 seconds, 313.29 mph.
"We really don't know what happened on that last run," said Lucas, who narrowly missed reaching his sixth final round appearance of his career. "We made some changes going into that last run and suffered a mechanical failure of some sort. We used up a lot of luck in the beginning of the season now we're getting some of it back. We'll move on to Indy and try to win there. We're going rounds and that's the biggest thing to us."
Lucas maintains his position of eighth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points standings with 830 and has narrowed the margin on seventh-place runner, Larry Dixon (911) to 81 points.
After some Top Fuel testing on Tuesday and Wednesday, Lucas marches onward to the most exalted NHRA event of the season -- The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Motorsports Park on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 4.