LUCAS ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN HOT MEMPHIS MEMPHIS (Aug. 21) -- Under absolute sultry and wicked track conditions in the 130 degree range, with a heat index of 105, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at the Memphis Motorsports Park didn't...
LUCAS ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS IN HOT MEMPHIS
MEMPHIS (Aug. 21) -- Under absolute sultry and wicked track conditions in the 130 degree range, with a heat index of 105, the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at the Memphis Motorsports Park didn't agree with Morgan Lucas, the driver of the Joe Amato-owned Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.
After qualifying ninth in the competitive Top Fuel ladder with a time of 4.691 seconds, 311.49 mph, he marched into first round of eliminations against his friend and fellow 'Brat Pack' competitor, Brandon Bernstein. Lucas prevailed in his race negotiating a very slippery racetrack running a time of 4.985 seconds, 280.66 mph seconds after partially pedaling his Lucas Oil dragster to the finish line, while Bernstein lost traction early and watched Lucas rush to the finish line running his own elapsed time of 5.968 seconds, 230.37 mph.
The quarterfinals placed Lucas against another formidable foe, Tony Schumacher, who had the lane choice in their round of competition. Ironically, Lucas defeated him in the quarterfinals in 2004 at Memphis, but in 2005 as the pair staged up, the 21-year old driver was just a down-tick of the clock behind in his reaction time (.094 -.102) and lost by the margin of victory of only .0088--ten thousandths of a second. Both cars ran identical times of 4.806 seconds with Schumacher just edging Lucas out in the mile-per-hour category of 301.74 mph to 297.29 mph.
"That was a tough race to lose," said a disappointed Lucas, which marked his first ever hole-shot loss of his career since he's been steering a race car at 14 years of age. "I'm not taking it lightly what I did. It's not my style and we have to do something before Indy. I'm normally around a .080 light or better. When you are trying to cut a light, it's all mental. In your mind, you have to figure out what is best for you. I guarantee you that Schumacher and I both were spinning the tires at the far end of the track. I take it all on my shoulder and that is just how it is."
Morgan did gain one round in the NHRA Top Fuel POWERade points chase and now has accumulated 1,032 points trailing leader, Doug Kalitta by 248 with six NHRA National events remaining in the season.
Up next for Morgan Lucas will be the Bluegrass Speedway for the fifth annual Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series "Bluegrass Classic" in Bardstown, Kentucky, where he will be signing autographs along with the other dirt track stars of the sanctioning body at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.
After that, Lucas will be concentrating on the biggest prize of the year for all NHRA racers -- the 51st annual U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park slated to run from Sept. 2 through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5.