TOUGH DAY FOR LUCAS OIL RACING TEAM BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1) -- For Morgan Lucas, his drive into the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway was very much out of character, as his Lucas Oil ...
TOUGH DAY FOR LUCAS OIL RACING TEAM
BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1) -- For Morgan Lucas, his drive into the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway was very much out of character, as his Lucas Oil dragster lost traction just past the starting line bringing about an upset win for his opponent, Scott Palmer. Lucas attempted to back-pedal his car, almost getting sideways, but it was to no avail as Palmer scored the win light running a time of 4.679 seconds at a speed of 325.69 mph to Morgan's coasting time of 13.416 seconds, 67.29 mph.
After qualifying for the race with a career high starting position, Lucas recorded a time of 4.561 seconds at a speed of 325.61 mph earning his Joe Amato-owned team the No. 2 position on the Top Fuel .ladder.
"Today the track just bit us, but I guess that's just life sometimes," said a let down Lucas. "We had a good car yesterday in qualifying when we earn the No. 2 spot. It's disappointing because the car should have gone down the track today.
"We missed an opportunity to catch points on some people and keep up points with others. The championship is ours to win and we're a team. We win as a team and lose together as a team. We have to get our heads together and go out and race the car the way we know how to race. We'll be fine."
Joe Amato, inducted into the International Motorsports Hall-of-Fame in Talladega, Ala., on Thursday of Bristol race week, knows the up, downs of NHRA POWERade drag racing first hand. The former Top Fuel driver and all-time leader in the category, who has recorded 52 wins out of 99 final rounds and 5 NHRA Top Fuel championships on his racing resume, has seen some unusual things happen in drag racing during his 24 years of competition.
"We had one qualifying run and then everything changes 180 degrees on raceday," said Amato referring to the overcast, rainy weather on Friday and Saturday resulting in only one qualifying session and then on Sunday turning to clear, sunny and cool conditions.
"That's why you enjoy the wins so much after low days like this. We will regroup and bounce back, but today we saw some tough track conditions. We saw many upsets out there; it was like a smoke fest sometimes. You had to be a little lucky and plenty good at the same time. This is a strong team and we'll move on to Atlanta."
Although it was Lucas' second successive first round loss, he still maintains his position of fourth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings with total of 370 points. He now trails new Top Fuel points leader, Doug Kalitta by 104 points after the completion of six of 23 NHRA National events.
Morgan Lucas will be making a special in studio appearance on NHRA2Day program next Sunday, May 8 on ESPN2 airing at 11:30 a.m.
The next NHRA event will be the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals from the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., scheduled to run on May 13-15.