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Jun 29, 2014 - 12:56 PM
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2014 NHRA: Lucas Oil Pro Morgan Preserving Through Challenging Year
Posted by: newsla on Jun 29, 2014 - 12:48 PM
2014 NHRA: Lucas Oil Pro Morgan Preserving Through Challenging Year

Considering he's routinely competing against drivers and teams with budgets that dwarf his small, family-oriented operation, it's a remarkable achievement for Larry Morgan to even qualify for an NHRA national event, but at this weekend's 17th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Morgan has done it again, earning the 14th spot for his Lucas Oil Mustang in the last time trial to keep his perfect qualifying streak alive.


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"It's not luck, it's pure skill," Morgan said with a laugh. "Sure we don't have the budget some of these top teams have, but we give 'em hell with what we got and you're darn right we're proud of qualifying for every race.

"The goal out here is to win, of course, but you can't win anything if you don't have a dog in the hunt, and at least we're there fighting every weekend. Gosh, if you gave us a big budget there's no telling what we could do. I'd love to find out."

The veteran racer from Newark, Ohio, posted a 6.695 at 207.27 mph to earn a chance at the Chicago trophy, pushing his qualify efforts this year to a tidy 12 for 12. True, he only has one elimination round-win to his credit, but standing toe-to-toe with the giants each week keeps his team pressing forward.

"I'm so proud of the guys," Morgan said. "This is all heart and hard work over here. We don't leave anything on the table when it comes to effort.

"This race was tough. It got hot on us and the humidity came in today, so you didn't see a lot of cars improve. We had to, so we had no choice. To come back and post that lap with our qualifying streak on the line, that was some pressure, but the guys handled it and I'm happy for them."

When this week's elimination rounds begin at noon CT, Morgan will battle No. 3 qualifier and defending series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., who had a best qualifying run of 6.604 at 209.30 mph. The race, and all the others, will be shown beginning at 2 p.m. CT on ESPN2.

"Jeg is from our neck of the woods over there by Columbus, Ohio, and I've known him since he was a boy," Morgan said. "He's turned into an awesome racer, but tomorrow I'm going to try my best to bust him. And I'm sure he'll have an answer, but that's what makes this sport so much fun."

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