GEICO's Morgan Lucas nabs second No. 1 of the season
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 10) – If this hot streak in the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster keeps going, driver Morgan Lucas might pop the question to his girlfriend every week.
Lucas, fresh off his recent engagement to Katie Pallone, ran a career-best 3.766 second pass at 321.88 mph on Saturday at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals to capture his second No. 1 qualifier in three races this season.
"It's been the icing on the cake as far as this last week goes," Lucas said. "If we can get a win tomorrow it'll be an awesome indication from the man upstairs that we're going to keep having success with our relationship."
The pass set the Auto Plus Raceway track ET record, and during his final lap of the day his speed was 326.56 mph, another personal best.
"This is the best racecar I've ever had,” Lucas said. “It's something you can't wait to hop in and drive. It makes me better because I can focus on my driving and I’m not worried about it blowing up or it doing something stupid.
"All I have to do is get in the car and press the gas down. All the credit goes to my crew. They have the hard job. We've got a great group who work well together."
Lucas said his time spent serving as his own crew chief a year ago gave him a newfound respect for what it takes to be a top-notch driver.
"Last year when I had the joyous experience of tuning the car for six races, it makes you appreciate a lot of things," Lucas said. "One of them is having the time to appropriately focus and have a clear mind when you get behind the wheel.
"With the car we have right now, I don't want to be the weak link on this team. I want to be able to support the guys in any way, shape or form."
Lucas will face No. 16 qualifier Brady Kalivoda in the first round on Sunday morning. Kalivoda made the show with a best pass of 3.925 seconds at 291.70 mph.
"Times might get better tomorrow, depending on what the wind does," Lucas said. "We had a pretty serious headwind today."
Racing at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning.