Morgan Lucas Advances to Fifth in POWERade Top Fuel Standings READING, Pa. (Sept. 18) -- Morgan Lucas had a memorable weekend at the Toyo Tires Nationals, displaying a racing consistency at Maple Grove Raceway that is so far unmatched in his...
Morgan Lucas Advances to Fifth in POWERade Top Fuel Standings
READING, Pa. (Sept. 18) -- Morgan Lucas had a memorable weekend at the Toyo Tires Nationals, displaying a racing consistency at Maple Grove Raceway that is so far unmatched in his young, 27 race NHRA motorsports career. Throughout the event, Lucas' runs only varied by .027-hundreths of second from his slowest run of the weekend of 4.563 seconds in his opening round of qualifying to his quickest pass of the race in the second round of eliminations, running a time of 4.536 seconds. Like a bracket car, Lucas reeled off elapsed times of 4.563, 4.542 4.554, and 4.556 seconds in qualifying and in the race, he bowled over his competition with times of 4.540, 4.536 and 4.538 seconds.
In Sunday's final eliminations, Lucas raced first round opponent, John Smith and easily disposed of his competition running a time of 4.540 seconds, 321.73 mph to Smith's tire-smoking time of 7.517 seconds, 124.38 mph.
His quarterfinals pairing with Melanie Troxel, the quickest and fastest woman in NHRA competition, turned out to be great competition after Lucas went through the speed traps with his best time and speed of the day, buzzing the clocks at 4.536 seconds, 324.98 mph to Troxel's run of 4.558 seconds, 320.43 mph.
Unfortunately, after advancing to the semi-finals, Lucas ran up against Tony Schumacher, who had been consistently quicker during the same span, and ran an elapsed time of 4.515 seconds, 325.92 mph in defeating Lucas, who recorded his great time of 4.538 seconds along with a speed of 323.81 mph.
"We're driving a great race car," said Lucas, who was pleased with his seven superb runs. "We ran a 4.56 to 4.53 race car all weekend and I couldn't be prouder of our guys. I don't think I ever did that in my alcohol career. The crew was so impressive and when you have a car like that every weekend, wins are going to happen. This car was safe, fun and I guess you can say predictable, so what else could you ask for."
Lucas' crew chief, Jimmy Dupuy came up with a reliable and steady game plan and with the assistance from Scott French, the Lucas Oil team's clutch specialist; the combo invested their time wisely to find the makings of one fast Top Fuel dragster.
"On that semi-final run, we were trying to run a 4.52," said Dupuy with confidence. "We had a great weekend and I can't thank my guys enough. They did an excellent job all weekend. The whole team gelled this weekend and got everything together. We just had an awesome weekend and the car ran flawlessly.
"It was just that I didn't want to make big changes; it was running that good. We adjusted for the air conditions and Scott helped me out on the track prep and man, it worked great. The car showed what a really great hot rod we have."
The better news for Morgan is that he moved up a position in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points standings and now claims fifth with 1,139 points. In addition, he can quickly close in on fourth with another solid performance with four races remaining in the NHRA season. He trails fourth-place runner, David Grubnic by only 42 points and is ahead of sixth-place contestant, Brandon Bernstein by 31 points.
"We set a goal that fourth was feasible and I have a goal to be No. 1 in the reaction time averages," said Lucas. "I think we afforded both of those goals this weekend, so as long as we keep making up ground and taking forward steps we'll be all right. The competition is going to have to contend with a bad hot rod from us for the last four races. We'll just now move on now and get ready to go to Dallas."
Up next for the Lucas Oil team will be the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the all-concrete surfaced dragway, the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, slated to run from Sept. 23-25.