Sonoma: Morgan Lucas final summary

SONOMA HAS LUCAS SEEING RED SONOMA, CA. (July 31) -- For Morgan Lucas, his run in the quarterfinals at the Fram-Autolite Nationals against Doug Herbert had the Riverside, Calif. resident seeing red after leaving the starting line too soon.

SONOMA HAS LUCAS SEEING RED

SONOMA, CA. (July 31) -- For Morgan Lucas, his run in the quarterfinals at the Fram-Autolite Nationals against Doug Herbert had the Riverside, Calif. resident seeing red after leaving the starting line too soon. Despite that misfortune, it marked officially the end to his rookie season as the hard charging young driver completed his 23rd professional NHRA event.

The Lucas Oil/Keystone Automotive Top Fuel dragster entered race day in the No. 4 position on the qualifying ladder after running a fiery elapsed time of 4.560 seconds, 307.44 mph in Friday night's time trials. He would race Jack Beckman for the first time of his career in Sunday's opening round of eliminations.

When the Christmas Tree starting line lights flashed green Lucas moved first and powered his way down the Infineon Raceway's quarter-mile to defeat him with a time of 4.617 seconds, 312.42 mph to Beckman's time of 4.702 seconds, 308.64 mph.

With the first round win, his 17th of his young career, that advanced him to the quarterfinals to face Doug Herbert. As the pair of cars were preparing to stage, Lucas was shortly distracted by an unfamiliar sound from his engine. Upon refocusing his eyes on the race, he reacted too soon leaving him with a red light start (-.084) after Herbert completed his run of 4.696 seconds, 313.58 mph.

"I heard a little noise from something I thought was coming from the engine," said Lucas. "I went out there and screwed up. I flinched and made a driver error, but the good news is that we didn't lose too much ground in the points. I know this team is better than that and I feel like I let them down. I've learned my lesson and will get my head right. We still have a lot of ground to make up, but we'll be all right."

The Joe Amato-owned Lucas Oil team moved closer to overtaking the fourth position in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings and now trails David Grubnic by only two points (949 -- 947) after the completion of 15 of 23 NHRA National events. He now has a total of 947 points and trails new leader, Doug Kalitta by 189 with eight races remaining on the schedule.

The next NHRA National event will be the Lucas Oil Nationals at the Brainerd (MN.) International Raceway on August 11 -- 14.

-www.morganlucas.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Jack Beckman , Morgan Lucas