Indianpolis: Morgan Lucas preview

INDY IS THE PLACE TO RACE INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 30) -- On every Labor Day, the one race every NHRA POWERade drag racer wants to win is the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. For young and old alike, it goes by many names such as 'The...

INDY IS THE PLACE TO RACE

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 30) -- On every Labor Day, the one race every NHRA POWERade drag racer wants to win is the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park. For young and old alike, it goes by many names such as 'The Big Go' and 'The Nationals'; but no matter what you call it; it's still the most revered race of the season and the one they all want to win. Since the inception of the NHRA in 1951, the U.S. Nationals has been the keynote race of the circuit. As some would say, a win at Indy would make their season -- it has that much prestige and honor.

The reputation of the U.S. Nationals is the one thing Morgan Lucas, now the driver of the powerful Joe Amato-owned Lucas Oil dragster, learned at an early age. From the moment he took an interest in NHRA drag racing, the importance of winning this race settled into his conscience.

"I guess it was after the first drag race I went to, I heard about the U.S. Nationals," said Lucas. "I was 12-years old when I went to my first one and knew right away from everyone's conversation that this event was treated with a little more intensity than the rest. This race is huge. It's bigger and longer than any of the other races and brings the fans out in droves. That's what it is all about -- the fans.

"You have your Daytona 500 for NASCAR and the Indy 500 for the IRL fans and drag racing has the U.S. Nationals," described Lucas of its importance. "I know it would be better than I could imagine getting my first win at that race."

Indiana is also home for Lucas Oil. Based in Corydon in the southern part of the state, the strong throng of company employees attending the U.S. Nationals will offer Morgan an instant fan base. What began as a company outing a couple of years ago now has turned into mainstay on the activities calendar at Lucas Oil. Lucas knows first hand of their friendship and support.

"In 2003, we went all year without winning until we got to the U.S. Nationals," said Lucas. "We ended up winning the race. It was tremendous deal to me because all my family and friends were there, and after all, I was born in Indiana, which is the main reason it holds added significance to me."

Qualifying for the U.S. Nationals starts on Friday, Sept. 2 with the initial session beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDT. Saturday's qualifying sessions are 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday's qualifying starts at 12:45 and 4:10 p.m. Final Round eliminations start at 11 a.m., CDT, Monday, September 5.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Joe Amato , Morgan Lucas