Charlotte: Lucas, Stoffer final report

Lucas and Stoffer look to Lone Star State CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 28) -- The inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway didn't exactly go as planned for GEICO Powersports drag racers Morgan Lucas and Karen Stoffer as both were eliminated ...

Lucas and Stoffer look to Lone Star State

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 28) -- The inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway didn't exactly go as planned for GEICO Powersports drag racers Morgan Lucas and Karen Stoffer as both were eliminated from competition in Sunday's opening round.

Lucas lined up his 8,000-horsepower GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster first against Cory McClenathan, Brandon Bernstein, and Rhonda Hartman-Smith but never had much of a chance to race them as his brilliant yellow and black rail was engulfed in tire smoke almost immediately after he stepped on the accelerator.

Although Lucas pedaled his machine in an attempt to regain traction, McClenathan and Hartman-Smith were quickly pulling away, advancing to the next round with a 3.799 at 319.14 mph and a 4.630 at 258.32 mph, respectively. Lucas drifted through with a 7.964 at 83.31 mph.

"We can't make any excuses," Lucas said. "We didn't get the tune-up right. We're a better team than this. That's all there is to it at this point. It's time to get back where we need to be.

"We're going to study our data and get the car back how it was. We're going to focus on getting our stuff for the future ready, and not necessarily right now."

The entire weekend also was a bit of a struggle for Stoffer and her GEICO Powersports Suzuki team. After qualifying 13th on the grid with a 6.992 at 191.32 mph, she couldn't muster up enough of a run to advance out of her first-round foursome. Instead, Hector Arana (6.897 at 192.22 mph) and David Hope (7.040 at 187.73 mph) moved on with Stoffer's 7.314 at 167.30 mph leaving her third in the grouping.

"We're frustrated," Stoffer said. "Frustrated but not down. We're learning a new power curve with these bigger motors and maybe we had a better start in Gainesville than we should have. That's a premier track that's very seasoned and although this place is awesome, it's definitely not as good a track for the bikes as Gainesville.

"It doesn't sound like much when you say we're running a 107 cubic inch engine versus the 101 cubic inch motor we used to have but it's actually very different. The torque this new motor puts out is phenomenal and we're still learning how to get the power to the track."

Stoffer also changed her riding style in the off-season, which adds another variable to the mix.

"I changed things up to avoid the red light problem we had in the past," Stoffer said. "So I'm riding differently, we have a new power curve to learn, and then we come here and have to figure out this four-wide racing and we only get one pass in each lane. It seems like we were going in several different directions.

"It's time to regroup, take what we can out of the runs we made here, and move on to Houston."

-source: mlr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Cory McClenathan , Karen Stoffer , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas , David Hope