Larry Morgan to make his 500th start in Gainesville
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 9) – This year's Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals is going to be a little more special for Larry Morgan than most races during his career because when his Lucas Oil Ford Mustang Pro Stock car rolls to the starting line it will mark Morgan's 500th career race in NHRA competition.
"I'm pretty excited about that," said Morgan, a 10-time Pro Stock winner. "It would be pretty cool to do well there. The NHRA were the ones who told me about it because when you are racing and working on the car, you lose track of things like that. But it's a cool deal.
"I hope it's going to be an exciting weekend for everyone on the team."
The milestone has given the veteran driver extra incentive to win.
"We've got enough power to qualify and do well," Morgan said. "We just have to make the right decisions. With this being my 500th race, I really want to do well for the folks who are behind me like Lucas Oil, Speedco, Ford, Summit and of course all the guys who work for me."
To make sure everything is right with the car, Morgan is taking a side trip to Bradenton, Fla., for a quick test session before making the final jog up to Gainesville Raceway.
"There's some stuff we want to work on with carburetors," Morgan said. "We'll try to do a little more too, but we've only got one day to work.
"We want to prepare and make sure everything is right."
Not getting things right was a hard lesson learned in the season opener for Morgan. He easily qualified for the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., but a misadjusted air gap in the first round of eliminations caused Morgan's Ford to creep through the beams during staging, turning on the red light.
Morgan was frustrated by the early loss and a little wary about incurring the wrath of his wife Diane when he got back to Ohio.
"She's as competitive as I am and wants everything to be right," Morgan said. "By the time I got home from Pomona, she was all right, but I wasn't so sure. She hadn't sounded very happy with me when I called after the race.
"After she picked us up at the airport I sat in the back and didn't say anything for the first 15 miles. She asked me why I was so quiet, and I said 'I figured I was already in enough trouble.'"
Morgan said is hoping the extra work before the Gators will make his next trip home full of celebration.
The 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals get under way Friday with qualifying at noon EST at Gainesville Raceway. Qualifying continues on Saturday with eliminations at 11 a.m. Sunday.
-source: lucas oil racing