Phoenix: Morgan Lucas preview

Lucas gets creative to describe Phoenix race track PHOENIX (Feb. 17) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas scans his mind for the proper word to describe the drag strip at Firebird International Raceway, the site of this weekend's 25th annual Lucas...

Lucas gets creative to describe Phoenix race track

PHOENIX (Feb. 17) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas scans his mind for the proper word to describe the drag strip at Firebird International Raceway, the site of this weekend's 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals. After a moment of reflection, the driver of the third-ranked GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster finally shrugs his shoulders and offers "teethy." He means it as a compliment.

"Is that even a word?" the popular 25-year-old asks with a laugh. "What I'm trying to say is that when the conditions are just right, and they look like they're going to be perfect this weekend, that track grows teeth. It get's teethy."

Having "teeth" means the track offers maximum traction, an ideal situation for racecar drivers like Lucas that manhandle 8,000-horsepower dragsters for a living. Usually, crew chiefs like Jimmy Walsh, the tuner of Lucas' hot rod, have to pull their mechanical setups back a bit to make sure their cars get from A-to-B. But when a track can grab a hold of cars and take the full dosage of horsepower put down through the tires, when it's "teethy" as Lucas offered, it can make for a really exciting race.

"A lot of us were here just a few weeks ago for testing and the last few days of that session the weather was great, just about the same as what we're expecting to see for the race," Lucas said. "The mistake you can make when the track gets that good is to not put enough power in the tune-up and you just shake your tires.

"We were guilty of that for the first several passes we attempted and finally Jimmy said, 'You know what? We make as much horsepower as anyone. Let's go-for-it.' So the next test lap we made he poured it on and we ran one of our quickest and fastest passes ever. It really got us excited. It's all about mastering that power curve. Whoever does that the best is going to win this race."

Lucas raced to the semifinals of the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., out-pacing many of the preseason favorites. But he's not putting too much stock in the rain-plagued event that caused problems for many of the top teams.

"I think the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Nationals will be a much better gauge of what to expect from everyone this year," Lucas said. "It's really shaping up to be one of those races where you kind of wish you were a fan up there in the stands watching it all go down because I think we're going to see some awesome racing. I can't wait to get started."

In support of the race that bears the name of his family's business, Lucas and teammate Shawn Langdon, will take part in a prerace Fan Fest Thursday evening at Craftsman Court in Old Town Scottsdale. The duo will take part in a question and answer session with the fans and be available for autographs and photos.

-credit: lor

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas , Shawn Langdon