Phoenix: Lucas, Langdon final report

Lucas, Langdon ring up round wins in Phoenix PHOENIX (Feb. 22) -- Top Fuel teammates Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon reached the elite eight of the 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals Sunday before bowing out to higher-qualified cars...

Lucas, Langdon ring up round wins in Phoenix

PHOENIX (Feb. 22) -- Top Fuel teammates Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon reached the elite eight of the 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals Sunday before bowing out to higher-qualified cars in the second round of eliminations.

Lucas powered his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster past David Baca in the opening session by a wide margin after Baca smoked his tires early and gave up the race. Continuing an early-season trend, Lucas had a great reaction time of .064 seconds to start a winning pass of 4.287 seconds at 228.58 mph. Baca, who had a .085-second reaction time, coasted through in 8.113 seconds at 94.31 mph.

In Round 2, GEICO crew chief Jimmy Walsh hopped up the 8,000-horsepower machine and tuned Lucas to a much-improved 3.898 at 302.55 mph, but the team ended up .03 seconds behind No. 3 qualifier Antron Brown, who posted a 3.885 at 303.78 mph.

"I'm mad at myself because a better reaction time might have produced a better result," said Lucas, who left with a .092-second light to Brown's .074-second launch. "I'm going to spend the next two weeks hitting my practice tree over and over. That's something I really pride myself on and when I needed it most, I didn't deliver.

"Overall, it was an okay weekend for us. We're way ahead of where we were one year ago. We did have a good close race in Round 2 and Antron had to beat us to get the win. We just wanted and expected more for GEICO and Lucas Oil this weekend."

Rookie of the Year candidate Langdon was thrilled to rack-up his first elimination-round win as a professional, which he accomplished in the opening frame against six-time IHRA champion Clay Millican with a 3.876 at 312.93 mph to Millican's 3.922 at 305.29 mph. He also left first, clocking a .070 reaction time to Millican's .083-second start.

Entering the quarterfinals, Langdon again faced a six-time world champion in Tony Schumacher, the most prolific racer in NHRA Top Fuel history and the No. 2 qualifier at this event. Once again, Langdon had a better launch, .060 to .085 seconds, but his special-edition Lucas Oil Slick Mist/Dixie Choppers dragster quickly suffered traction problems and Schumacher was able to limp by and win with a 4.038 at 262.08 mph to Langdon's resigned 7.779 at 80.73 mph.

"We're making so much progress every run that it's hard to get too down," Langdon said. "We had the champ (Schumacher) right where we wanted him and he was beatable against us for sure. I think the track just got a little hotter than we expected and we spun the tires.

"I'm feeling so comfortable in the car now. I think I'm up to 20 or so full passes under my belt and it's getting easier for me every pass. I left on both of my opponents today, which also makes me feel pretty good. We're gonna be real good real soon, I can just tell."

Up next is the 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, which run March 12-15 at Gainesville Raceway in central Florida.

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Antron Brown , Tony Schumacher , David Baca , Morgan Lucas , Shawn Langdon