Baytown: Morgan Lucas preview

LUCAS OIL RACING INTENDS TO BE SECOND-TO-NONE IN TEXAS HOUSTON (March 28) - Fueled by a tradition of tremendous horsepower, the Lucas Oil Top Fuel team with driver Morgan Lucas is in the thick of the 2006 POWERade championship chase, and...

LUCAS OIL RACING INTENDS TO BE SECOND-TO-NONE IN TEXAS

HOUSTON (March 28) - Fueled by a tradition of tremendous horsepower, the Lucas Oil Top Fuel team with driver Morgan Lucas is in the thick of the 2006 POWERade championship chase, and appears to be closing on the leader as they rocket into the 19th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals on March 31 - April 2. Currently fifth in the points standings, Morgan is comfortable with the super-quick, fast-pace times and speeds that have been the norm to this point in the season, and his Lucas Oil Racing crew has big plans for this event, with the primary goal of being second-to-none in Houston.

This weekend, the young team's championship spark is expected to come from Houston Raceway Park, a track located right at sea level with a well-earned reputation for quick acceleration. The ideal air and smooth track surface has the potential to produce new records for Lucas.

"Last year we made it to the semi-finals, running in the low 4.50s all weekend", said Lucas. "This year, the tire requirements that NHRA has instituted for the pro classes places us in an enviable position, since we have run the 2420 compound all season. Based on that, we feel our car's set up will match up well with the flat Houston track."

With the three of the 23 scheduled races completed in 2006, Lucas finds his John Stewart and Ronnie Thompson-led team in fifth in the POWERade standings. Trailing leader, Melanie Troxel by 97 points, the young Lucas keeps strengthening his focus, concentrating his efforts on defeating his opponent in the other lane at over 320 mph.

"It's really topsy-turvy near the top of the standings," said Lucas. "You can't afford to give anything away. I have to be sharp on the line and let the crew run the car to match the weather conditions. We have a very smart team whose entire philosophy is to win rounds. They push the car's potential, with every lap we make showing signs of improvement. I feel having that combination will get us to victory circle quicker than anything."

The start of the 19th annual O'Reilly Springnationals begins on Friday, March 31 with qualifying starting at 4:00 p.m. (CST) and 7:00 p.m. Saturday's time trials start at 12:30 p.m. for the nitro classes followed by a second session at 3:00 p.m. The race starts promptly at 11 a.m. (CDT) on Sunday, April 2.

LUCAS OIL RACING DRIVER NOTES:

Morgan Lucas has five runner-up finishes, which the Riverside, Calif. driver reached in only his seventh (04 Las Vegas2), eighth (04 Pomona2), 10th (05 Phoenix), 20th (05 St. Louis) and 21st (05 Denver) starts. He finished fifth in the 2005 NHRA Top Fuel Point standings with 1,357 points after competing his first full season on the competitive 23-race NHRA circuit. He is presently fifth in the 2006 standings with 178 points and trails the championship lead by 97 points.

Lucas' quickest elapsed time is 4.474 seconds, set on Feb. 12, 2005 at Pomona Raceway. He sped to his fastest top speed of 328.94 mph on May 29 in the first round of eliminations at the 2005 O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kansas. He won two Budweiser low qualifier awards. His first on May 14 at the Atlanta Dragway recording a time 4.541 seconds and Oct. 22 on 'The Strip' at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway setting the pace with his run of 4.508 seconds. Morgan Lucas' first Top Fuel event came behind the wheel of the Joe Amato-owned dragster at the 2004 Lucas Oil Nationals at the Brainerd (MN.) International Raceway on August 15, 2004.

--lor-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Joe Amato , Melanie Troxel , Morgan Lucas