LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS IN BRAINERD Surpasses his 100th Career Round of Competition in Quarterfinals BRAINERD, MN. (Aug. 13) -- It took Morgan Lucas only. 4.597 seconds to end his first round blues, which came to an abrupt halt at the 25th ...
LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS IN BRAINERD
Surpasses his 100th Career Round of Competition in Quarterfinals
BRAINERD, MN. (Aug. 13) -- It took Morgan Lucas only. 4.597 seconds to end his first round blues, which came to an abrupt halt at the 25th annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway projecting the 22-year old driving marvel past his 100th round of competition, in just two years of Top Fuel racing.
The Brownsburg, Indiana resident celebrated the start of his third anniversary of professional driving on Sunday taking his family-owned Lucas Top Fuel team to the semi-finals round. His first two appearances at Brainerd resulted in a first round loss, but on this race day, he served notice to the competition that he was primed and ready to take on all contenders on Sunday.
Coming from the No. 11 position after qualifying with an elapsed time of 4.643 seconds, 313.80 mph his first adversary of the day was from No. 6 qualifier, Cory McClenathan.
In that first round, he defeated McClenathan where Lucas and his John Stewart and Ronnie Thompson-led Lucas Oil camp came through with their best run of the weekend delivering an elapsed time of 4.597 seconds, 314.09 MPH as McClenathan went up in tire smoke almost immediately and coasted to a time of 11.552, 86.46 mph.
His captured his quarterfinal match up with Doug Herbert and quickly disposed of him running a time of 4.607 seconds, 312.06 mph to his opponent's time of 4.620 seconds, 319.52 mph to face Brandon Bernstein in the semi-finals.
As stout as the young Lucas was in his first two rounds, he almost overcame Bernstein to advance to the finals of his family-sponsored race, and was alongside of him up to the 1000-feet of 1,320 before suffering a problem with the engine allowing Bernstein to reach the finish line first.
Lucas looked like he was beginning his march around Bernstein before problems set in and ended up producing an elapsed time of 4.687 seconds; 252.28 mph to Bernstein's time of 4.545 seconds, at an event meet top speed of 332.10 mph.
"We finally feel like we have gotten closer to our tune up and a lot closer than we have been since the early part of the year," said an elated Lucas. "The car ran right with him and then it hiked the front end up in the air around 500 feet of the run. The last stages of the clutch were coming through making the front end hang up there for a little while, but it shot over to the right. If we were going to get by Bernstein I had to try to steer as best as I could and eventually got it back over in the groove. By that time, it was too late and you lose a lot of ground when you're running all over the racetrack. Even our incremental numbers up to 1,000 feet at that point were better. Then it shut off suddenly when the burst panel went out, but we were still on our best run ever. We are proud of the fact we made it to the semi-finals and we held our stance in the points. It may not mean anything at this stage, but I think at the end of the year maybe it will all add up."
Besides the impressive numbers Lucas put on the scoreboard to get to the semi-finals, he also was pleased to exceed his 100-round mark and now has 101 in his career after competing in 47 consecutive races.
"It's one of those milestones you don't really think about until you have to, but actually today it was kind of funny because Bob Frey (NHRA announcer) was doing driver introductions and he said that I qualified for my 47th straight event and it's a pretty big deal for me," said Lucas. "Not too many people can say that they have qualified in all the races in a class, especially in their first two years of driving. I'm pretty pumped and we set it and we're down to the point where it will only get better and I think things are heading that way. I think our car is starting to shine and we need to get the finesse going and make the numbers right to get all the proper data that we need and be smart and race smart."
Lucas firmly established his position of eighth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points standings with 758 points after the completion of 16 of 23 NHRA National events. He now trails seventh place runner, Larry Dixon by 101 points (859) and distanced himself from ninth-place competitor, Hillary Will by 48 points (710).
The next NHRA event will be next weekend at the Memphis Motorsports Park for the running of the 19th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals on August 18-20.
-credit: Lucas Oil Racing