ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 2) – Morgan Lucas and the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team have that car running so well that they were mildly disappointed when they ran the second-quickest time in class history.
During Friday's night session at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals, Lucas ran a blistering 3.739-second pass at 324.51 mph, which is Lucas' career-best lap, but the team left the line a little upset because the team had tuned the car to run a 3.70-flat.
"We're still learning and having growing pains with this team," Lucas said. "But it shows we're headed in the right direction, and we'll always like growing pains like that run Friday."
That run also put a solid lock on the No. 2 qualifying position (Spencer Massey ran at 3.728 at 329.91 mph to beat Lucas for the No. 1 spot), and it gave the team a chance to dial in a tuneup for when eliminations get under way on Sunday at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
"Aaron Brooks (the team's crew chief) wanted to test the track to see what it would or wouldn't hold under race day conditions," Lucas said. "We smoked the tires today, but had we been in a pressure situation today, we would have gone straight down the track."
The conditions on Saturday were helter-skelter for the nitro cars. The sun darted behind the clouds all day, which gave crew chiefs fits when they were trying to make their final adjustments before making their runs.
"We feel like we're close, we just need to get the right conditions," Lucas said. "We got bit by that this afternoon. There was a long oil-down a few pairs in front of us, and while they were cleaning it up, the sun came out from behind the clouds and the track was 10 degrees warmer than before the oil down. When your car is set up for a particular track temp, a big change like that can really hurt you – it's the same thing that happened to us in Topeka."
Lucas draws Bruce Litton, who qualified 15th and drives the Lucas Slick Mist dragster.
"It's tough to race against Bruce because he's such a good guy and has been a part of the Lucas Oil brand for many years," Lucas said. "It's going to be a tough one there. He's been able to go down the track a lot this weekend."
Litton had a best pass of 3.903 at 313.00 mph to earn that 15th spot.
"It's going to be tough all day," Lucas said. "There are no easy wins in this class."