LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS FINISH AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA TOPEKA (May 28) -- Morgan Lucas marched his Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster to his third semi-finals appearance of the 2006 NHRA POWERade season before being defeated by eventual O'Reilly...
LUCAS RACES TO SEMI-FINALS FINISH AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA
TOPEKA (May 28) -- Morgan Lucas marched his Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster to his third semi-finals appearance of the 2006 NHRA POWERade season before being defeated by eventual O'Reilly Summer Nationals champion, Doug Kalitta. In the hottest race settings the NHRA teams have faced so far this season separated the racing groups rapidly and the knowledgeable teams were successful in combating the extreme track temperatures reaching over 130 degrees.
After his qualifying effort of 4.699 seconds, 290.76 mph that allowed Lucas to enter the field in the 10th starting position, pairing him against youthful rookie and No. 7 qualifier, Hillary Will for the fourth time in only nine races and thus keeping his victory streak alive by winning again.
The masterful Lucas left first with a splendid reaction time of .083 and basically won his first round on the starting line after her reaction time of .125 giving him the win by .0226 of a second in a major hole-shot win, his fifth of his 40-race career. Lucas ran a winning time of 4.727 seconds, 279.32 mph to Will's time of 4.707 second, 305.08 mph.
In his quarterfinals match up with Doug Herbert, Lucas extended his dominance in their 10 meetings and now holds a six to four lead in head-to-head competition after winning in convincing style. Lucas ran time of 4.785 seconds; 261.93 mph to Herbert's run of 4.984 seconds, 251.63 mph.
Lucas battled hard in the semi-finals against his strong opponent, Doug Kalitta. The 22-year old driver, now residing in Brownsburg, Indiana, left on his rival by a full tenth of a second (.075 - .175) in the reaction time category, but fell short of his expectations only to run an elapsed time of 5.016 seconds, 241.37 to Kalitta's time of 4.712 ET, 304.39 mph.
"Our performance today got us a lot closer to a top five position in the points," said a self-assured Lucas. "That says a lot to our team's strength especially since we've been struggling lately. I think we're getting back to where we need to be and now we're going to a track like Route 66 Raceway where I feel we can increase our confidence by running great ET's. Our crew chiefs (John Stewart and Ronnie Thompson) have been working very hard and have proven it today by advancing to the semi-finals. We're trying to give the race car what it wants and right now, we're making progress.
"The dedicated racing fans of Kansas take a lot of pride in Heartland Park and it showed by having a great crowd all three days. We always looking forward to seeing them and can't wait to get back here next year."
The NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points standings have Lucas in the seventh position but is only 11 points out of fifth place. He now has accumulated a total sum of 498 points.
This Wednesday, May 31, the Lucas Oil Racing team will head to Chicago for a special NHRA appearance in preparation for the running of the 9th annual CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals by participating on the WGN-9 Morning News show 8 a.m. EDT where they will doing a simulation of regular maintenance between competitive rounds for a nationwide audience.
They return to competition at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. the following week on June 9 -- 11 for the completion of the CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals