Morgan Lucas Saturday report Racing series NHRA Date 2011-02-26
Hail be damned -- Lucas drives GEICO dragster into Winternationals field
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 26) -- There were few people happier to see the sun pop through the clouds Saturday at Pomona Fairgrounds than GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Morgan Lucas.
The GEICO rail lost a cylinder at the hit of the throttle during his lone qualifying effort on Thursday putting Lucas 17th in the field, one spot out of the elimination field. Rain washed Friday's qualifying out and Saturday started with both pea-sized hail falling from the sky, causing some nervous times around the GEICO pit.
"You never know what circumstances are going to come your way, especially with the weather," Lucas said. "We're all at the mercy of Mother Nature. Fortunately for us, we did get a second chance and we were able to get in the field.
"I thought I was being smart the first run by not pedaling. There are really strict oildown penalties being enforced this year and I played it safe. That ended up putting us in a position where, once this crazy weather started, we were looking at the possibility of not making the show. It's certainly something we're going to need to think about in the future if we have weather forecasts like this."
Fortunately for him, the sun was out by midday, the track was dried out, and Lucas made a solid pass to wind up ninth in the field for Sunday's eliminations at the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals.
"I want to be the best driver I can be this year," Lucas said. "I'm not always on my game, or at least I haven't been in the past, but that has changed. I can't let weather conditions effect what I do. We've seen extreme changes before. We've had tornado warnings, crazy heat, cold, sandstorms, just about everything, but you just need to get in the car and do your job. That's what we're paid to do."
Lucas' best pass of Saturday was a 3.857 second pass at 314.90 mph.
"(Crew chief) Dickie Venables and (assistant crew chief) Kurt Elliott knew what they needed to do to get this GEICO dragster down the track," Lucas said. "They've made enough passes now in Top Fuel to have that ability.
"They're not as experienced (in Top Fuel) as the Alan Johnsons of the world, but they knew how to make it go down the track. They actually wanted to go quicker and that's pretty exciting to me."
Lucas squares off against No. 8 qualifier Brandon Bernstein. He ran a 3.856 at 293.92 mph.
-source: morgan lucas racing