Sonoma: Morgan Lucas Saturday summary

LUCAS' UPTURN MOVING ON SONOMA, CA. (July 29) -- Morgan Lucas' upturn in the pro ranks from his recent bout of bad luck and misfortune seems to be coming along very nicely. At Infineon Raceway's Fram/Autolite Nationals, Lucas and crew are...

LUCAS' UPTURN MOVING ON

SONOMA, CA. (July 29) -- Morgan Lucas' upturn in the pro ranks from his recent bout of bad luck and misfortune seems to be coming along very nicely. At Infineon Raceway's Fram/Autolite Nationals, Lucas and crew are making forward progress and it all began in qualifying where took the No. 8 position on the 16-car roster.

He seized his position on top side of the ladder after qualifying with an elapsed time of 4.605 seconds; 304.87 mph from Friday night's session and will race Bob Vandergriff in the opening stanza of the NHRA POWERade professional eliminations on Sunday. The last time the duo paired up in eliminations was the 2004 Fall Chicago race and overall is 1-1 in head-to-head competition.

Lucas, who is doing double-duty as the pilot of the family-owned and sponsored Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster along with his time at the helm of their Alcohol dragster in the sportsman ranks has begun his weekend off to a positive start with a win in the first round of the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series on Saturday.

He defeated Brandon Johnson with his best sportsman run of the weekend of 5.339 seconds, 267.75 mph as compared to his No. 7 qualifying time of 5.365 seconds, 265.74 mph. In eliminations in the sportsman ranks, Lucas now will face No. 2 qualifier, Mark Niver on Sunday after he performs first in his Top Fuel dragster.

"We keep finding problems that we have to solve," said Lucas, who has 10 Lucas Oil Sportsman titles to his name. "I'm looking forward to the next round and feel pretty confident in it. I think we found many of the big problems that have been ailing us. We temporarily fixed some of them that we cannot do anything about during this weekend. We're on the right track and I feel Tom Conway as crew chief has been a huge asset. Just listening to his advice has been a big deal.

"We have Mark Niver second round tomorrow. He ran great in qualifying with career bests for him and seriously, I couldn't be happier for him. You want to talk about a great group of people - the Niver family is awesome. But now it's race time and I want to beat him. I think I owe him one from a long time ago."

However, before he tackles that project, he'll have his hands full in combating Bob Vandergriff and should be the first pair of eliminations.

"My first professional round win ever came against Bob Vandergriff," stated Lucas. "Out of all the drivers, he's probably the one that I have been friends the longest with in the pro ranks. With us, we just race and don't play games at the starting line. We'll still be friends at the end of the quarter-mile for sure. Last year at Somona we were the first pair and the good thing about that is it's a level playing field. It's fair because they have as many looks at the racetrack as us. Who knows, whoever has the best car will win. I'm very excited about tomorrow."

-Lucas Oil Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas , Bob Vandergriff