Madison: Larry Morgan preview

Gateway Was Turning Point for Larry Morgan in 2003 MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2004) - It was here at Gateway International Raceway in 2003 where Larry Morgan started to show promise after a string of 11 straight season DNQs (did not qualify) in the...

Gateway Was Turning Point for Larry Morgan in 2003

MADISON, Ill. (June 24, 2004) - It was here at Gateway International Raceway in 2003 where Larry Morgan started to show promise after a string of 11 straight season DNQs (did not qualify) in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. He qualified No. 12 that weekend in his Team Mopar Dodge Stratus, and although he lost in the first round to Allen Johnson it didn't matter.

What mattered was that, with legendary 10-time Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden coming on board as crew chief a couple of months earlier, Morgan began to qualify regularly, go rounds, and was no longer doubting he'd ever see a final round again.

Following a DNQ at the next race in Denver, Morgan went on to qualify for the remaining 10 races of the season, including five times in the top half of the field, and seven in the top 10, reaching the semifinal round in three events. He completed the season 11th in the Pro Stock point standings.

Morgan now arrives at Gateway International Raceway for this weekend's 12th round of the 23-event series fifth in the rankings and under the banner of Don Schumacher Racing for the second straight event.

"We just got our act together with the car, got everything right here; that's where it started," he says of this event in 2003. "I credit Glidden for 90 percent of that. He came in here and put everything in line and absolutely straightened us out. We were doing a poor job at the track. We were behind the 8-ball and we were changing a hundred different things and he kind of straightened us out and made us change one thing at a time.

"That's why it took so long," he adds. "It took I guess five races before we really started doing well. Probably the biggest thing he's done is make us focus on doing the right thing."

With the purchase of his team by Don Schumacher Racing as of the Englishtown, N.J., race last weekend, Morgan is confident that his team's performance will improve even more, but it won't be overnight. "We're still trying to get everything lined up on how we are going to do it with Don and how Don wants it done," says the Newark, Ohio, resident. "We're stepping up every day. Everything will be upgraded in time. We started ordering some more parts that we hadn't been able to get. We'll probably accomplish more next week, when we have some time.

"We're also going to test in Denver next week to prepare for that race (July 16-18 at Bandimere Speedway)."

As for running under the lights at Gateway this weekend: "I like running at night," says Morgan. "Gateway is a neat place to race. It's very well lit. The only thing is we're probably going to have two qualifying sessions that will be exactly the same and two sessions that we will throw away because of the way the air will be.

"It's supposed to be fairly cool here, so we'll see. There may only be a hundredth (of a second) or two difference between the early evening pass and the night pass. Sometimes it can be as much as five hundredths, and we don't want that."

Pro qualifying is scheduled for 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on both Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26. Final eliminations begin at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 27.

On Saturday, June 26, ESPN2 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 10 p.m. (ET). On Sunday, June 27, ESPN2 will televise three hours of elimination highlights at 9 p.m. (ET).

-dxr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Morgan , Don Schumacher