Venables takes over GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 29) -- Multi-car team owner and driver Morgan Lucas announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Dickie Venables will tune his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel ...
Venables takes over GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 29) -- Multi-car team owner and driver Morgan Lucas announced Wednesday that veteran crew chief Dickie Venables will tune his GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster effective immediately.
"Dickie is an extremely versatile crew chief that's had a lot of success and when he became available we decided to make the move to hire him," Lucas said. "We've had struggles with the team this year, that's no secret. Jimmy Walsh is an excellent tuner and a really smart guy; the pieces of the puzzle just weren't fitting together for us."
Venables most recently led Del Worsham's efforts in Funny Car at Al-Anabi Racing, but was released last week when team manager Alan Johnson decided to discontinue his Funny Car program effective at the end of the season.
The highly decorated Venables has won two NHRA Funny Car championships during his career, once in 2003 as assistant crew chief for John Force Racing with Tony Pedregon behind the wheel and the other in 2007 for Pedregon as driver/owner.
Although he's been most recently associated with some of the elite Funny Car programs in the sport, Venables made his name in Top Fuel dragsters working with such NHRA luminaries as Shirley Muldowney, Don "the Snake" Prudhomme, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Connie "the Bounty Hunter" Kalitta, and the late Gary Ormsby.
"He's spent a lot of time around dragsters and I'm hoping he brings the consistency we've been lacking right away," Lucas said. "We're out of the chase for the most part so it's a good time to get things squared away how he wants them to be."
Venables replaces Jimmy Walsh, who guided the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster to three national event victories during his tenure.
Lucas and the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster currently sit ninth in the NHRA Full Throttle Series standings. The team's best results this season have been two semifinal berths in Phoenix and Houston, while the car has been knocked out in the first round 11 times.
Venables and longtime assistant crew chief Kurt Elliott will bring the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil dragster to the track for the first time Oct. 8-10 for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
-source: powersports racing