Norwalk: Powersports Racing final report

Short day in Buckeye State for GEICO Powersports drag racers NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer were both dismissed in the first round of Sunday's Summit Nationals in Norwalk,...

Short day in Buckeye State for GEICO Powersports drag racers

NORWALK, Ohio (June 27) -- Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Karen Stoffer were both dismissed in the first round of Sunday's Summit Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, giving the powerful GEICO Powersports camp a headstart on the NHRA's brief summer break.

After a promising start to the day with both racers on the friendly side of their respective elimination ladders, the tables quickly turned with a pair of unlikely upsets.

Lucas went first at 11 a.m. and got an early jump on Round 1 opponent Pat Dakin with a quicker .088-second reaction time to Dakin's .097-second launch, but the motor on his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster was down to seven cylinders almost immediately and the resulting loss of power allowed Dakin to win with a pedestrian 3.970 at 297.16 mph. Lucas labored to a 4.624 at 253.75 mph.

"We're making efforts to fix our problems," Lucas said. "We're going to stay and test here tomorrow to try and figure out what happened. There are a lot of variables with a Top Fuel car. We didn't have any problems all weekend and then something like this surfaces in Round 1. It's frustrating but all we can do is work our way out of it.

"You see teams out here that don't follow a very structured maintenance program and they can go for a long time with no issues. We're totally on top of our program and quirky things are still happening. We'll get it figured out."

About an hour and a half after Lucas' loss, Stoffer got her turn. This time it was opponent LE Tonglet getting the jump at the Christmas Tree, leaving .029 seconds ahead of Stoffer, which ended up being enough for the second-generation rider to win with a slightly slower 7.089 at 187.08 mph to Stoffer's 7.073 at 188.15 mph.

"We need to quit worrying about red lights," crew chief Gary Stoffer said. "I slowed the clutch lever release down too much and I cost her the win. Karen's riding a lot better and I know on race day she's good for a three hundredths of a second jump on the green light. If I had left it like it was, that would have given her about an .010-second green-light start and I thought that was a touch too close so I tightened it up and cost her the race.

"I know we can win all day long with .020 lights. I just get nervous when you start getting down in the .010s and .00s. It's too close to red. But this time I should have left it like it was and let her ride."

The NHRA tour takes a weekend off before heading to Seattle for the 23rd annual NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 9-11 at Pacific Raceways.

-source: powersports racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Karen Stoffer , Morgan Lucas , LE Tonglet , Pat Dakin