Significance of 50th annual Winternationals not lost on sport's youngest nitro pro POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) -- He may be the youngest drag racer competing in the nitro ranks, but 26-year-old Morgan Lucas is fully aware of the historical ...
Significance of 50th annual Winternationals not lost on sport's youngest nitro pro
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 8) -- He may be the youngest drag racer competing in the nitro ranks, but 26-year-old Morgan Lucas is fully aware of the historical significance of this weekend's season-opening 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.
The driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster, who begins his sixth full season as a professional this Thursday-Sunday at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, remains in awe of the drivers that came before him, many of whom will be on hand for the Winternationals. As is his practice, he'll make a point of seeking out as many quarter-mile pioneers as possible to speak with them in person.
"I have so much respect for the older drivers," Lucas said. "Without them, this sport wouldn't be anywhere near the level it is now and we should all thank them. I joke with them about how crazy they were because I look at some of those cars and see how on the edge they were. They were big-time risk takers but they were doing the same thing we continue to do today; they were chasing their dreams.
"I'm always fascinated by the engineering with those old dragsters and Funny Cars. They literally had to manufacture so many parts by hand because there was no place to buy the stuff they needed. And most of the drivers were really involved with the engine-building process and tuning the car because many times their crew was just friends and family members. It was way different back in the day. It would have been cool to be a part of it all."
Perusing the list of former race winners, Lucas knows the champion of this year's event will hold a special place in the history books. And with four semifinal finishes in the last five seasons at the Winternationals, he feels this could be his year to break through for his first Pomona victory.
"It's special just to be a part of this race and to win it would be over the top," Lucas said. "This is a real milestone event. It's drag racing history in the making. I don't think there's any question people will be talking about this one for a long time.
"We've had a lot of success at Pomona since I started racing in Top Fuel. We just haven't punched through for a win yet. I think we should be right there in contention once again because we tested really well. We didn't hurt anything and Jimmy (Walsh, crew chief) answered a lot of the question he had.
"We've got two cars here that should represent GEICO Powersports and Lucas Oil real well all year. My teammate Shawn Langdon and I both had strong runs in 2009 and we fully expect for it to continue in 2010."
A former So-Cal resident, Lucas expects lots of support from his friends, family, and the staff of Lucas Oil headquarters in Corona. The team also will be hosting lots of associates from GEICO Powersports, Toyota, Speedco Truck Lube, and MavTV.
-source: morgan lucas racing