Topeka: Morgan Lucas preview

NHRA action will heat up considerably in Topeka, Lucas predicts TOPEKA, Kan. (May 25) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas has proclaimed that the action in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will heat up considerably when the tour arrives at ...

NHRA action will heat up considerably in Topeka, Lucas predicts

TOPEKA, Kan. (May 25) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas has proclaimed that the action in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will heat up considerably when the tour arrives at Heartland Park Topeka for this weekend's 21st annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

With a third of the '09 season in the books and a big victory in Atlanta propelling his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil team to a lofty fifth-place perch in the world rankings, Lucas could easily be talking about the sizzling racing action on the track so far this year. But in reality, Lucas actually is referring to the weather when he alludes to the heat these days.

"Topeka is going to be the first consistently hot conditions we're going to face this year," said the 25-year-old from Indianapolis. "As we've seen in the past, the teams that transition the best from cool weather racing to hot weather racing are usually the ones in the hunt for the championship at the end of the year. We want to be in that group.

"When it's cooler outside, you can really get after it and usually the racetracks will take pretty much anything you throw at them. When it starts warming up and the tracks get a little tricky, that's when the crew chiefs earn their pay because they have to dance that fine line between getting from A-to-B and over-powering the track. In a sense, they have to de-tune the engines because we're making way more power than we need."

Teams got a little taste of the heat at the NHRA's last stop in Bristol, Tenn., when temperatures suddenly soared during the second day of qualifying. But the shift was short-lived as an overnight cool front returned things to normal by race day. Still, the two attempts everyone made in the heat produced an uneasy feeling throughout the pits.

"Everyone was struggling big-time," Lucas said. "I think that one day really caught a lot of people off guard. Plus, it's hard when you go from cool and tight to hot and slippery in less than half a day.

"Racers are part-time weathermen and we've all been looking at the long-range forecasts for Topeka. It certainly appears that it's going to be hot but the good news is that it's going to be hot all weekend. As long as we don't get any rogue tornados blowing through, we should all be on a level playing field.

"One thing you can count on at Heartland Park is that the track will be perfect. The crew at that track is really proud of their facility and it shows. Plus, the fans are always fired-up and that makes it exciting for the drivers. I can't wait to get there."

-credit: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Morgan Lucas