LUCAS AND TODD SHARE OLYMPIC BOBSLEDDING OPTIMISM LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Jan. 6) -- The scenic countryside and picturesque surroundings of Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, has offered the NHRA Top Fuel aces Morgan Lucas and...
LUCAS AND TODD SHARE OLYMPIC BOBSLEDDING OPTIMISM
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Jan. 6) -- The scenic countryside and picturesque surroundings of Lake Placid, site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, has offered the NHRA Top Fuel aces Morgan Lucas and J.R. Todd an Olympic sensation unlike any have ever felt before -- riding in a competitive Olympic bobsled.
They are among the drivers featured in Geoff Bodine's Bobsled Challenge. The event, run in conjunction with U.S. National Bobsledding Championships, also features NASCAR drivers and is a fundraiser for Bodine's Bo-Dyn Bob Sled Project and the U.S. Bobsled Team as they prepare for the 2010 XXI Olympic Winter games in Vancouver, B.C.
"It's a great feeling and the whole thing is that I want to make it from A to B without wrecking and ending up on my head," said a laughing Lucas. "So far we're seven for seven. It's just a blast and you can't keep the smile off my face when you reach the bottom. It would be a great second job outside of drag racing. I have never had to turn before in a race car and you feel a great sense of accomplishment and pray that your skis are down. It's fun and I've been enjoying myself. It's been neat hanging out with J.R. and meeting all the NASCAR guys.
"Boris Said is cool as heck and Randy LaJoie is an absolute riot. It's been a blast. Everyone has been super nice and it's just a testimony to the people who put the money and time into bobsledding -- people like John Morgan (Event Organizer) -- who put on such an event. Bobsledding is a lot like drag racing in the respect that people don't know how cool it is until they get to an event; see it, and eventually like it. It's fun."
Todd also has discovered a new adventure and shares Lucas' feelings completely.
"I definitely have a lot of respect for those Olympic guys who are out there doing this," said Todd, NHRA's 2006 Rookie of the Year and three-time Top Fuel race winner. "It looks easy on TV, but to be out there and actually doing it; it's a handful.
"The steering rings are attached to a rope that leads to the rudder at the front. You're going 50 miles per hour and you're steering with ropes. I'm definitely not used to that. I'm used to having a butterfly steering wheel in my hand, but I'm getting accustomed to it. It's a lot of fun. It's pretty unreal.
"It's kind of a comparison to a fuel car. You're trying to control something that is out of control. In a fuel car, I can stop that thing, but I cannot stop the bobsled. Mother Nature is in control, you have to deal with it, and you are along for the ride, hopefully not on your head. I'm told the times will be same, but we will starting up higher the hill going faster, so I'm looking forward to that."
That was the plan and the twosome gained more confidence with every run until they went to the higher stage. After having two sleds crash out of three runs in front of them, mainly due to the increased speed and slippery conditions, Geoff Bodine, the team leader, made the decision to move back the competition to level four duo to unusually warm conditions for this time of year in Adirondacks.
Lucas qualified in the No. 7 position after his two eligible runs while Todd placed No. 11th.
The majority of competitors come from the NASCAR contingent with Speed Channel's Ray Dunlap and Rick Allen representing the media along with play-by-play action of the event. Such notables as seven-time NASCAR modified champion Mike Stephanik, two-time (1996-97) Busch Grand National champion Randy LaJoie, legendary short track racer Dick Trickle, Boris Said, Kevin LaPage, Brendan Gaughn, 2006 NASCAR Late Model Stock car National champion Philip Morris, and newly crowned NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine head up the remainder of the roundy-round stock car crowd.
Speed Channel will air the final round Sunday, January 7, at 2 p.m.