Norwalk: Lucas Oil Racing final report

Buckeye State treats Lucas Oil race team well at Norwalk event NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) -- Reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Hector Arana raced to his fourth final round of the year Sunday to highlight the Lucas Oil race team's effort in ...

Buckeye State treats Lucas Oil race team well at Norwalk event

NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) -- Reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Hector Arana raced to his fourth final round of the year Sunday to highlight the Lucas Oil race team's effort in Northwest Ohio. Arana took runner-up honors to Matt Smith, pushing his points lead to 120 at the midway mark of the season.

"I gave it my best," Arana said after his razor-close loss to Smith (7.076 to 7.080). "They knew the rain was coming and they pushed us to get back up there for the final. I think I missed the tune-up by just a little bit because it flattened out at the tope end and he got a wheel on me.

"We're still very happy. I'm happy for Lucas Oil and for all the fans here that were pulling for us all weekend. This place is my favorite of them all. I wish I could have won it agains but maybe next year we can come back and try again."

In the semifinals, Arana faced longtime nemesis Andrew Hines and won on a holeshot. The 2008 Norwalk winner enjoyed a huge .052 second advantage at the starting line before running a 7.033-second lap at 190.27 mph. Hines couldn't make up the deficit at the starting line despite running a quicker elapsed time of 7.026 at 190.48 mph.

Arana set low ET in each of the first two rounds of eliminations on Sunday. In the first round he raced to a 7.012-second pass at 190.48 mph against Joe Desantis, who almost didn't make it to the starting line after encountering a malfunction in the water box. An obviously rattled Desantis then ran a 7.369 at 186.05 mph.

In the second round, Arana bested Angie Smith by running a 7.032 at 188.70 mph to Smith's 7.085 at 188.73.

Pro Stock veteran Larry Morgan got his first round victory in the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang since the season opener in Pomona back in February.

In a first round matchup of veterans, Morgan defeated Warren Johnson on a holeshot. Morgan beat Johnson off the line by .035 seconds and crossed the finish line first with a 6.736 second pass at 205.01 mph. Johnson couldn't overcome the deficit at the starting line despite running a quicker 6.708 at 206.01 mph.

"I feel pretty good about things right now," Morgan said. "The engine program has come around, we're not hurting parts, and the car is running strong. We'll have a new Mustang built by Sinned Customs for the Western Swing and I hope that's the last thing we need to win rounds every weekend."

In the second round, Morgan lost to Jason Line. The two drivers were nearly dead-even off the stripe with Line running a 6.711 at 205.13 mph. Morgan's pass was 6.762 at 205.32 mph.

"The motor stumbled on me in Round 2," Morgan said. "I left the starting line at too low of an RPM and that was it. If you're not good down low you sure as heck aren't going to be good the rest of the way. We ran decent mph, so the horsepower was there, I just messed up at the start."

Shawn Langdon guided to the Lucas Oil/Speedco Top Fuel dragster into the second round for the second time in as many weeks.

His first win was relatively easy as his opponent Steve Torrence smoked the tires halfway down the track. Langdon ran a 3.964 second lap at 301.54 mph as Torrence coasted across with a 5.155 at 148.23 mph.

In the second round, Langdon fell to last week's winner, Tony Schumacher.

"For the second straight week we lost a good, close race," Langdon said. "The car did what we asked it to do. We didn't want to go up there and beat ourselves.

"Tony struggled in qualifying, and then had a good first round run today, so we didn't know exactly what to expect. This time he responded and beat us."

Schumacher ran a 3.951 at 308.57 mph to Langdon's 3.992 at 293.60 mph.

Norwalk signaled the end of a stretch of four consecutive races for the Full Throttle Series. Langdon said he and the Lucas Oil team will recharge and be ready for the Western Swing in two weeks.

"We have a week off for the Fourth of July so everyone can catch their breath and have a few days off," Langdon said. "Then we're heading west for the Western Swing, which is going to be really important for setting us up for the Countdown to 1. We want to be on a roll heading into the Countdown if at all possible."

The eliminations rounds of the Summit Nationals will be shown in primetime Sunday on ESPN2.

The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before heading to Seattle for the 23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 9-11 at Pacific Raceways.

-source: lucas oil racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Larry Morgan , Jason Line , Andrew Hines , Steve Torrence , Matt Smith , Angie Smith , Shawn Langdon