MORGAN LUCAS SETS LOW ELAPSED TIME AT NHRA O'REILLY SUMMER NATIONALS 21-Year Old Driver Speeds to 328.94 MPH Setting Personal Career Best TOPEKA (May 29) -- Morgan Lucas set low elapsed time of the race in his opening round of eliminations at...
MORGAN LUCAS SETS LOW ELAPSED TIME AT NHRA O'REILLY SUMMER NATIONALS
21-Year Old Driver Speeds to 328.94 MPH Setting Personal Career Best
TOPEKA (May 29) -- Morgan Lucas set low elapsed time of the race in his opening round of eliminations at the 17th annual NHRA O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, marking another first for the sophomore driver of the Lucas Oil dragster with his run of 4.502 seconds. On the same pass, he powered his way to a personal career best mile per hour of 328.94-mph defeating his first round opponent, Mitch King.
"I don't think we anticipated that good of a run," said a smiling Lucas. "The car literally motored on from the half track point on to the finish line. We were able to get the car to run on all eight cylinders without any problems of dropping any holes. That's the fastest miles per hour I've ever run. It felt strong and got on the rev-limiter right before the finish line. Hey, let me tell you that was a trip. We would have gone 330 mph if it wasn't for that."
The quarterfinals had Lucas beating Brandon Bernstein after leaving the starting line first and never having to look back taking the win with a time of 4.570 seconds, 319.90 mph to Bernstein's tire-smoking time 5.830 seconds, 149. 12 mph.
"In the second round, I was worried a little about the car going down the track, so I worked the brake a little bit extra just to make sure we went A to B," said Lucas. "It went 4.570 seconds, and Larry Dixon (Lucas' semi-final challenger) ran a 4.569 elapsed time and he had lane choice by one-thousandth of a second over us in the next round. It became a one-lane race in the semis, no one in Top Fuel or Funny Car went down the right lane, and unfortunately, we were one of them."
Lucas lost to Larry Dixon after his powerful dragster lost traction and coasted to a time of 9.415 seconds, 95.23 mph, to Dixon's swifter time of 4.546 seconds, 328.46 mph.
For Morgan Lucas it was "Mission Accomplished' as he made progress in the big picture of the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel points standings by carving 39 points into points frontrunner, Doug Kalitta's lead, after the Riverside, Ca. driver advanced to his fifth semi-finals of the 2005 season. About the only thing that didn't go his way today was that he slipped two positions in the standings and now resides in fifth place with 579 points.
"We're still gaining on the leaders and there are still plenty of races left," Lucas said. "We're making up ground and the top five point runners are very close. We're fifth and only a round of competition behind Dixon and David Grubnic. If we can go a couple of rounds further than them in the next couple of races we'll be all right, after all you never know what is going to happen. You have to be there to capitalize on it. The team with the winningest average at the end of the year will be the champion and hopefully we can be that guy."
Another first happened at Heartland Park Topeka as fellow Top Fuel driver; David Grubnic captured his first win in the Top Fuel division. Since it wasn't in the cards for Lucas to take the title, he was more than please for the Kalitta team and especially their driver.
"I'm happy for David Grubnic, I really am truly, genuinely happy for him," grinned Lucas, who is now in line to be the next Top Fuel winner. "That guy has been racing for a long time and for him to get his first win is quite an accomplishment. I am so proud of him; I can't even describe my sincere happiness for him."
The next NHRA National event for the Lucas Oil Racing team will be coming up in two weeks at the Route 66 Raceway near Chicago slated to run on June 9-12.