Lucas powers GEICO dragster through quick lap before rain returns POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) -- Morgan Lucas provided a rare bright spot to the rain-plagued 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals by zooming to the second quickest pass of...
Lucas powers GEICO dragster through quick lap before rain returns
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) -- Morgan Lucas provided a rare bright spot to the rain-plagued 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals by zooming to the second quickest pass of Sunday's opening round before rain returned and pushed the season-opening event to a fifth day.
Racing the higher-qualified car of Joe Hartley, Lucas used the best reaction time of the day -- .063 seconds -- to get an early headstart on Hartley. He never looked back from there, cruising down the strip in his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster in 3.846 seconds at 310.20 mph to Hartley's 3.955 at 307.37 mph. Lucas' lap was just .001 seconds off the quickest of the round.
"I've never started a season with as much confidence in my car and crew as I have this year," Lucas said. "Jimmy (Walsh, crew chief) told me the track looked awesome and he stepped on it that round. The car responded and, aside from a little tire shake in the first few feet, which you're gonna get when the track is that tight, it was a great run."
The win pairs Lucas against Steve Chrisman in the quarterfinal round, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. PST Monday at Auto Club Raceway. Chrisman upset David Baca in Round 1 with a 4.086-second win at 285.59 mph.
"We feel like we match up well with anyone out there," Lucas said. "It's been a bummer weekend for the fans with all the rainouts and delays but I'm too happy with my team to let it bother me. We'll be ready to go tomorrow, and I can't wait to get back on the car."
Lucas' rookie teammate Shawn Langdon wasn't as fortunate, losing his first-round race against Cory McClenathan when the engine of his Lucas Oil/Dixie Choppers dragster failed. Langdon got a .03-second jump on McClenathan and led the race until just before the eighth-mile marker when his powerplant let go. His 4.221 wasn't enough for McClenathan's 3.934.
"It was a good race for most of the track," Langdon said. "I felt that I hit the tree really well and I didn't see him over there. I had to pedal, but so did he, and we were both fighting to keep it together. The car felt a little weird but I didn't want to lift because I knew we were ahead. Then it just let go and he got by for the win.
"I really wanted a better start and I'm just super anxious to show the Lucas family they made the right choice in letting me drive this car. Phoenix can't get here fast enough as far as I'm concerned."