QUARTERFINAL FINISH FOR MORGAN LUCAS AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY PHOENIX (Feb. 26) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Forrest Lucas-owned Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster entered Sunday's eliminations at the 22nd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at ...
QUARTERFINAL FINISH FOR MORGAN LUCAS AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY
PHOENIX (Feb. 26) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Forrest Lucas-owned Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster entered Sunday's eliminations at the 22nd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway with great optimism and high expectations. After qualifying in the No. 10 position with a time of 4.535 seconds, 325.77 mph, he knew that he had a big day's worth of work ahead of him and he gladly welcomed the task.
Lucas had a tough first round match up against ranked driver, Doug Kalitta. In a tire smoking affair with both Top Fuelers losing traction just past the starting line, the much younger, Lucas showed the maturity of a veteran as he quickly pedaled his powerful 8,000 horsepower dragster enabling his car to move forward quicker than Kalitta's. His ability to drive under the dire consequences gave him the round win with an elapsed time of 5.914 seconds, 302.35 mph to his opponent's slower time of 7.295 seconds, 188.31 mph.
"I don't think it hurt much on the car, but it obviously hurt our pride," said co-crew Ronnie Thompson describing his first round run. "We missed it on our tune up a little bit and were too aggressive. Morgan saved us with his driving".
Advancing to the quarterfinals, Lucas squared off with two-time Top Fuel champion, Larry Dixon. Although 22-year old driver sprinted off the line first (.082-.096), he was not capable of defending his early lead allowing Dixon to barely nip him at the finish line in a close side-by-side battle. Dixon scored the round win with a time of 4.545 seconds, 326.08 mph to Lucas' time of 4.562 seconds, 320.66 mph. The margin of victory was a narrow 34-ten thousandth of a second (.0034).
"Our first round was interesting to say the least and we now have the data to know how to smoke the tires," Lucas said in jest. "Doug is one of the best pedalers out there and if you were to ask me before the first round if we would both go up in tire smoke, I would have said 'no'. "I got on the good side of it and pedaled it. It hooked back up and we were fortunate.
"On our second round, we had him on the line and led most of the way down the track, but it was a close finish. Dixon is a great driver with a really good team. I'm happy that we made it as far as we did. I think we fell back a couple of places in points, but it's one of those deals that I'm not that sad about it. We just need to qualify a little bit better, but we'll be okay."
In the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points, Lucas leaves Firebird Raceway in the sixth position with 123 points.