Past Atlanta champion Lucas dreaming of replay weekend
ATLANTA (May 11) -- You never forget your first victory and for GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas that gives Atlanta Dragway and the annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals a permanent spot in his memory banks.
he key is keeping it simple and sticking to your gameplan.
"I remember that race so well," Lucas said of his big win in 2009. "It was an extremely long race day because we had some rain delays. That sticks out the most. But I also remember being extremely confident. I just had a special feeling that day, and of course every round we won added to that feeling.
"The final was crazy. We had Spencer (Massey) and he was the top qualifier, so we knew he was running strong. I had a great light in the final (.049 seconds) and knew I was out front until we smoked the tires. I was like, 'Oh man, I can't believe this.' But instead of seeing him fly by I heard him getting on and off the gas so I knew he was in trouble as well. Then I was like, 'It's on!' We were both pedaling like crazy and I got my car to hook up first and was able to get the win."
The victory served as a springboard for a career season that included three wins. Lucas is now hoping to recreate that magic and trump his '09 campaign. With a win earlier this year at the season opener in Pomona, Calif., he's already ahead of the curve.
"Getting that first win as a pro (in '09) was big for the team because we had an 800-pound gorilla on our back that we'd been carrying around for a long time," Lucas said. "We needed a big turning point and Atlanta delivered for us.
"I kind of feel the same way now, even though we already won a race this year. The circumstances are different because now we're expecting a lot more of ourselves, but the feeling that we need a breakout race is there. I really think it could happen because we're coming off a great race in Houston where we had six good runs in hot weather conditions, which we'll definitely see again in Atlanta. It could be the perfect time for us."
Interestingly, Lucas would probably welcome some crazy weather during the weekend. All four of his Top Fuel wins have taken place under suspect circumstances.
"If something happens once or twice it's a fluke," Lucas said. "But considering all of our wins have come after weird weather delays, it's more than a coincidence. I know you'll never hear me complain about the rain. I feel like the experience and calm attitude of the veteran guys on this crew just play right into those kind of situations.
"The key is keeping it simple and sticking to your gameplan. The mistake guys make in long delays is they start second-guessing themselves and they end up changing stuff. It always seems to come back and bite them. Look at Alan Johnson and his teams; they just do the same thing over and over and they win a lot of races."
Making Atlanta Dragway the first place where he's won twice would be just fine with Lucas, who at 27 years of age is the youngest full-time driver in the nitro ranks.
"That southern hospitality is something I always look forward to," he said. "I like being around true motorsports fans and the people that come to Commerce are as real as it gets. I can't wait to get there."
-source: morgan lucas racing