Mustang mania arrives in Pro Stock with Morgan's new ride POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- It's been an off-season of change for Pro Stock veteran driver Larry Morgan and his Lucas Oil-sponsored machine. Morgan is reporting to this week's 50th...
Mustang mania arrives in Pro Stock with Morgan's new ride
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- It's been an off-season of change for Pro Stock veteran driver Larry Morgan and his Lucas Oil-sponsored machine.
Morgan is reporting to this week's 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona with a brand new Ford Mustang body and a handful of unknowns. But with three decades of racing experience, he's not too concerned.
The new car recently spent some time in Lockheed Martin's wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., but because of stormy weather during much of the last month, it's seen very little track time.
"The Vegas test never looked inviting because the weather didn't look good from the start," Morgan said. "Then we found out the wind tunnel was available and I really wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. So instead of heading west, we went east. We figured once we got out of the wind tunnel we'd go somewhere and make a couple of hits but we ran out of time.
"It was raining everywhere. We wound up going clear down to Bradenton, Fla. I let the clutch out one time after a rainstorm, then we had 60 mph headwinds, so we didn't get to do a whole lot of testing but we did make sure the car went straight. Now we're going to Pomona and figuring out the rest during qualifying."
The crisscross trip from his Newark, Ohio-based race shop wasn't a total loss for Morgan. The time in the wind tunnel was important to finding the right angle for the unproven Ford Mustang body.
"These cars are brand new and we needed to get into the wind tunnel to get the balance right," Morgan said. "We were trying to figure out where we were off balance and the wind tunnel test really helped us sort it all out. We fixed it up right there in Georgia and now we should be good to go.
"We were just a few hundredths (of a second) off the fastest cars down in Florida, so we're excited about that and hopefully we can put the Lucas Oil car safely into the field at Pomona and get some racing done on Sunday."
This year will mark Morgan's 26th Winternationals appearance, and the always-smiling Buckeye said he's always excited for the season-opening race.
"I can't wait to run," he said. "The first race of the season is always good for you even if it goes good or bad. It's always exciting to get back out, go to the races, and see all the people you missed over the winter.
"This year's Winternationals would surely be an exciting race to win, I can tell you that. They'll be so much history associated with this being the golden anniversary and all. We believe we'll be in the hunt. This car is better than what I had last year by a little bit, and we ran fairly well at the end of the year, so we're pretty happy with where we're at.
"Being that they have their headquarters in Corona, the Pomona races are always big for Lucas Oil as well so we already know we'll have lots of people pulling for us. Plus, we've picked up a bunch of hungry Ford fans that want to see us do well, and that's very cool. I'm ready to get started."