Joliet II: Morgan Lucas final summary

LUCAS REACHES QUARTERFINALS MAINTAINS FIFTH POSITION IN POWERADE POINTS Chauffeurs a Pink Top Fuel Dragster for Breast Cancer Awareness JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, left Route 66 Raceway...


Chauffeurs a Pink Top Fuel Dragster for Breast Cancer Awareness

JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2) -- Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, left Route 66 Raceway with a bit of satisfaction, but the ideal scenario of his first win is still forthcoming as he reached the quarterfinals of Sunday's Ameriquest NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Lucas rolled off a great qualifying time of 4.513 seconds, 326.79 mph, which placed him only in the eighth position on the starting grid of 16 Top Fuel race cars. Continuing the consistency he had displayed at the previous race, he also posted runs of 4.520 and 4.517 in qualifying prior to his pairing against Melanie Troxel in the first round.

In the opening round of eliminations, he used his starting line moxie to leave first and maintained his lead all the way to finish line to trailer his opponent. He used a .033-reaction line and the .066-of a second performance advantage in defeating her after she reacted with a .099 resulting in a margin of victory of .0537 of a second.

Running next to current NHRA POWERade points leader, Tony Schumacher in the quarterfinals was the downfall of the Lucas Oil Racing Joe Amato-owned team. Despite having the reaction time advantage once again going to Lucas (.062 - .086), just as his dragster started mounting momentum down the quarter-mile, he suddenly lost traction, smoking the tires.

"We had a piece in the blower that didn't work properly," said Lucas. "It was something that I didn't expect to happen and it's no one's fault, but it did and bit us today. We'll be fine and come back next week with our consistent car. You would think a single part couldn't make enough power that it would smoke the tires, but these things are weird at times. The only way to explain it is that they're race cars.

"I've been working on my lights lately and made some progress this weekend. I'm happy about that and I'm proud of my guys. They stuck it out this weekend and did everything they could. We've made a lot of progress in the past. Our worse run down the track run of the weekend was a 4.540 (first round elapsed time). We're getting there and when Jimmy (Dupuy, crew chief) gets this thing all figured out, we'll be very good."

The Lucas Oil crew led by Jimmy Dupuy set a torrid pace in qualifying and in the race came up shy with a quarterfinals finish. His skills, talent and knowledge of the quarter-mile were apparent when his best run of the weekend came in Saturday morning's first round of qualifying when he ran a time of 4.513 seconds and backed it up in the afternoon session running another reliable 4.517 elapsed time.

"Yeah, it's running real consistent," said Dupuy. "We had some bad luck in the second round. The crew is working hard, but we tried to go for it and we didn't quite have enough stuff and took the tire off. Morgan did an excellent job driving this weekend. I hope that we can correct some things for Dallas next weekend and keep it going.

"We had a little trouble on Friday when we threw off the blower belt on our first run. Just looking at the data, it would have run a 4.52. You cannot ask for anything better than that. It's somewhat predictable, but that's okay. We know we have a good car and hopefully we can pick it up a little bit more and by the end of the year we'll be in the hunt."

One very noticeable addition to Lucas' presentation at the Route 66 Raceway was the paint scheme he carried this weekend highlighting October as 'Breast Cancer Awareness' month. His vibrant pink race car was very noticeable and delivered the message. The response from the fans was phenomenal and hit home with many whom the terrible disease has afflicted

"I'm very proud to represent that," stated Morgan Lucas. "Driving a pink race car is kind of cool when you think about the cause. To represent the "Fuel for the Fight" cause is an honor. The Huntsman Cancer Institute does a lot for the research for a cure. It been a privilege and I hope we were able to get the word out about the awareness of breast cancer.

"My Mom (Charlotte) drove one in the Super Comp class and Aaron Olivarez carried the pink colors in the Alcohol dragster division".

Lucas maintained his position of fifth in the NHRA Top Fuel POWERade points standings and needs to continue his steady progress. He has now earned 1,192 points and trails fourth place runner, David Grubnic by 40 (two rounds of competition) and is only 10 points ahead of Brandon Bernstein who holds the sixth position.

The rescheduled O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex where there was a threat of Hurricane Rita striking the area two weeks ago will conclude next weekend on Oct. 7 -- 9. Qualifying starts on Friday with sessions at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. CDT.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Joe Amato , David Grubnic , Melanie Troxel , Morgan Lucas