Palm Beach test, Florida sunshine has warmed up GEICO Top Fuel team
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 2) -- For Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO Top Fuel dragster, there's nothing prettier at a test session than an open parachute.
An open 'chute means a clean, full run, and the GEICO team's first two days of testing at Palm Beach International Raceway have been quite beautiful.
"In all my times testing a Top Fuel or Top Alcohol dragster, I've never opened the 'chutes on every run until now," Lucas said. "It's refreshing, it's exciting, and it makes me look so forward to this season."
Lucas said on his final run Tuesday the GEICO dragster crossed the line in 3.81 seconds at 319 mph, just off the pace of the top times of all the cars assembled in South Florida, which was a 3.78. The car made three other full test runs with times of 3.86, 3.88, and 3.94 seconds.
The test has been running like clockwork, Lucas said, thanks in large part to crew chief Dickie Venables, who came aboard at the tail end of last season.
"Dickie came in here with a game plan and he is just such a common sense guy," Lucas said. "He and Kurt Elliott make a great team."
Lucas said Venables and crew aren't just making runs for fun. Each time the GEICO rail rolls to the line, there is some different part or combination that Venables is putting through its paces.
"We're trying different superchargers and different clutch packages right now," Lucas said. "We're doing a lot of different things that are going to make a lot of improvements. We're not out there just trying to lap the car, we are changing things every run. And the things that Dickie and Kurt are trying are panning out in the right direction.
"I've had some great crew chiefs in the past, but I really feel like I've hit the jackpot with these guys."
The smooth test session has sent a jolt of positive energy through the whole crew.
"Everyone is smiling and having fun" Lucas said. "Both team cars are running well, and everyone has confidence. Right now, I'm feeling as good as I ever have going into a season."
The GEICO team plans to continue testing on Wednesday before wrapping up on Thursday. The NHRA Full Throttle Series season starts Feb. 24-27 with the 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals from Pomona, Calif.
-source: powersports racing