Sonoma: Morgan Lucas preview

LUCAS' LAST RACE AS A ROOKIE SONOMA, CA. (July 26) -- The Fram-Autolite Nationals will be Morgan Lucas' last race as a NHRA rookie as he will complete the entire NHRA POWERade tour with the 23rd race of his young career. In this short...

LUCAS' LAST RACE AS A ROOKIE

SONOMA, CA. (July 26) -- The Fram-Autolite Nationals will be Morgan Lucas' last race as a NHRA rookie as he will complete the entire NHRA POWERade tour with the 23rd race of his young career. In this short period, the now sophomore-driving marvel from Riverside, Calif. has shown his peers that he can get the job done behind the wheel of his Lucas Oil/Keystone Automotive Top Fuel dragster. After 14 events in 2005, he finds himself fifth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings and 170 points out of the lead with nine races remaining.

Although this isn't his first run down Infineon Raceway -- in fact, he has two wins in Sonoma ('04 Fram-Autolite Nationals, and '03 Division 7 event) as a NHRA Lucas Oil Sportsman racer driving a Top Alcohol dragster, seeing the winner's circle this weekend as a member of the Top Fuel category would be ideal for the 21-year old pilot.

"A win at Somona would feel great," said Lucas, "I know we have nothing to lose right now, so we just have to go for it. At this stage, we just need to beat everybody in the other lane. It's about the points, but not just this round or that round. It's the whole race. The only sure way to get more points than everyone else is to win. We have nine races remaining and that equals 36 rounds of racing. We can't afford to let anyone gain any further ground on us."

Jim Dupuy and John Stewart have done an outstanding effort in getting the Joe Amato-owned dragster to run consistently. It's not an easy task to keep an 8,000 horsepower engine running to perfection and that kind of dedication is what it takes to keep Lucas in the championship hunt.

"They know how to work with the car," said Lucas. "We've made 11 runs down the track in the last three races and that's phenomenal. All we're missing is that last win light to get us over our five runner-up finishes. Don't get me wrong, I hope we can continue making it to the final round. Eventually, either performance or luck will get us to victory lane. We need to keep the frontrunners close and that's the only way to race."

Besides the NHRA POWERade point chase going on in his mind, Lucas is particularly satisfied with returning to his home state after his many travels.

"I always have more fun at Infineon Raceway," said Lucas. "It's a great facility and they keep making improvements with both the fans and racers in mind. It's fully up to date and what more could you ask for."

Qualifying for the Fram-Autolite Nationals starts on Friday, July 29 with sessions at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. with Saturday's qualifying at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Sunday's eliminations start at 11 a.m., PDT, Sunday, July 31.

-www.morganlucas.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Joe Amato , Morgan Lucas