LUCKY LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS FINISH IN ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7) -- Despite morning rain showers which caused a delay in the commencement of the 26th annual Summit Racing Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway until the middle of the ...
LUCKY LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS FINISH IN ATLANTA
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 7) -- Despite morning rain showers which caused a delay in the commencement of the 26th annual Summit Racing Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway until the middle of the afternoon saw 22-year old, Morgan Lucas press forward advancing to semi-finals before falling to NHRA Top Fuel points leader, Melanie Troxel.
His best time in qualifying placed the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster in the No. 9 position covering the quarter-mile in 4.571 seconds along with a speed 321.19 miles per hour where he would race the eighth qualifier, Doug Herbert.
Lucas fired an opening round barrage in defeating Herbert with a solid 4.715 seconds, 272.78 mph to Herbert's languishing time of 6.607 seconds, 125.83 mph after losing his blower belt.
The luck of the draw in the quarterfinals gave Lucas the difficult task of facing the No. 1 qualifier for the race, Brandon Bernstein. In a very strange set of circumstances, both cars staged with Bernstein rolling in deeper trying to throw off Lucas' concentration, but the 22-year old Lucas was unflinching and rushed down the track only to have Bernstein stay stagnant at the starting line. It was later told to the media that Bernstein has suffered a bent mainframe rail on his dragster on his previous run and the Budweiser/Lucas Oil team deemed it unsafe to compete under those conditions. Lucas motored to the triumph taking the win light running an elapsed time of 4.858 seconds, 245.23 mph.
For the forth time in the young NHRA season, Lucas had his chance to take out the POWERade point leader, Melanie Troxel and increase his chances of improving his statue in the standings. However, when the light flashed green, Lucas leaped off the line first (.068 - .112 reaction times) and then to suddenly experienced severe tire shake causing him to back off the throttle shortly. Although Lucas tried in vain to catch Troxel, she narrowly missed crossing the centerline, which would have been an immediate disqualification, and won the semi-finals match up sprinting to a time of 4.514 seconds, 318.54 mph to Lucas' run of 7.773 seconds, 109.74 mph.
"We must be living right," said a fortunate Lucas. "Someone told me it's better to be lucky than good. Today we were lucky much more than we were good. It's not from a lack of effort from our Lucas Oil team, though. Unfortunately, we kept catching bad breaks in qualifying. Then on race day, it was completely different and we continued to chase the tune up to prevent it from dropping cylinders. We feel it may have something to do with the fuel system, but we'll work on it and be all right. Starting a new team and getting it rolling in the right direction has not been the easiest thing in the world to do.
We need more semi-final and final round finishes and we were lucky to keep our streak of successful runs intact of not having any first round losses."
The POWERade Top Fuel point rankings now have Lucas in the seventh position dropping a spot in spite of his semi-finals finish with a total of 394 points.
While most NHRA racers have next weekend off, Lucas, who is an avid fan, will heading to the track "Too Tough to Tame" for the NASCAR Dodge Charger 500 at the historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway as a guest of Nextel on Saturday. During his visit to the Carolinas, his schedule contains an appearance on a special 'Mother's Day' edition of ESPN2's NHRA2Day presented by Lucas Oil on Sunday airing May 14 at 11:30 a.m.
Up next on the NHRA circuit will be the 42nd annual Pontiac Performance Nationals at the National Trail Raceway in nearby Columbus, Ohio on May 19 -- 21.