By Lucas Oil Racing
Runner-up finish for Morgan marks a high point for his Ford program
Larry Morgan became the first driver to put a Ford into a Pro Stock final at an NHRA national event since 2003 when he finished runner-up to rookie Vincent Nobile on Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
"I've been to the finals here three times now, I wish I could have won," said Morgan, the driver of the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang who hails from Newark, Ohio. "We've done a real good job, and I'm happy with what transpired this weekend. We're looking forward to bigger and better things happening real soon."
In the final, Nobile got the jump on Morgan at the starting line and stayed a nose ahead of him all the way down the track. The second-generation drag racer crossed the line in 6.615 seconds at 208.26 mph, with Morgan right behind with a 6.657 at 209.30 mph.
"In this class you deal with such small (increments)," Morgan said. "Just thousandths of a second. It's incredible."
Morgan was trying to be the first driver since Bob Glidden to win a Pro Stock race in a Ford. Glidden last won in 1995 at National Trail Raceway in Ohio.
"With the luck myself, Summit, and Ford has had over the years in Ohio, I'm going to have to convince the NHRA to have all their races in Ohio," Morgan said. "Especially because I get great support from my family, friends, and fans in this area."
On his way to the money round, Morgan defeated Vieri Gaines, Rodger Brogdon, and Jason Line.
"Right from the first round when V. Gaines crossed over into my lane after I shook the tires," Morgan said, "I felt like something good was going to happen today. Then when we beat Jason in the semis, we really thought it was possible.
"The whole team did a great job to get where we are and we're excited for that."
Morgan beat Gaines when Gaines red-lit by minus-.016 seconds. Against Brogdon, Morgan won on a holeshot, meaning Morgan enjoyed a .028 second advantage at the starting line and powered across the line first with a 6.662 second lap at 208.30 mph ahead of Brogdon's quicker but losing 6.644 at 208.52 mph.
The Lucas Oil Ford also got the jump on Line in the semifinals then added to the margin of victory with Morgan running a quicker 6.641 at 207.94 mph to Line's 6.644 at 208.42 mph.
Since rebooting Ford's Pro Stock program a year ago, Morgan said the companies that support him have been patient. He's hoping this runner-up finish is the start of a great payoff for their faith in him.
"The Ford people were here and the Summit people sponsor this race," Morgan said. "Forrest and Charlotte Lucas from Lucas Oil have been great. All the people who help us have been great. We're moving forward with this Ford Mustang and we're excited to head to the next race."