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Aug 12, 2014 - 06:21 AM
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2014 NHRA: Top Fuel's Lucas Returns To Action At His Favorite Race On The NHRA Circuit
Posted by: newsla on Aug 12, 2014 - 06:19 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Top Fuel's Lucas Returns To Action At His Favorite Race On The NHRA Circuit


It seems fairly obvious why Morgan Lucas would love his family's namesake race, this weekend's 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway. After all, he is the youngest child of Lucas Oil founders Forrest and Charlotte Lucas.

 

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But the truth is that Morgan Lucas' love affair with all things Minnesota goes much deeper than the title sponsorship of the race.

"I love the people there," Lucas said. "It's definitely the most fun you can have at a racetrack, and it's the race I've always looked forward to the most on the schedule. Of course it's a special race for our family and for Lucas Oil as a company, but the people who attend this race are the ones who make that happen for all of us.

"Of course, you have a great race facility and a really awesome track surface that lends itself to top-notch drag racing. The staff there makes it perfect for us and as racers we appreciate that a lot. But I keep coming back to the fans and the party out in 'the Zoo' and just the general good-time vibe that happens every year at BIR. It's unique."

Lucas rode that positive Brainerd vibe to Top Fuel victories in 2009 and 2012. He also was the No. 1 qualifier at Brainerd in 2009 and made his pro debut at BIR in 2004, when he took over the seat in legend Joe Amato's dragster.

This time through will be a little different for the new father as he has only competed twice this year in his Lucas Oil/GEICO dragster, taking time off from racing to learn the ins and outs of the family business.

"We've only raced in Gainesville (Fla.) and Englishtown (N.J.) so far, but fortunately we've done really well, reaching the semi's at both events," Lucas said. "I guess you could look at those races and say we've had some luck, but even if that's the case, then we'll take it.

"I look at crew chief Aaron Brooks and his right-hand man Rob Centorbi and I see two guys that rise to the occasion. We put together a really good group to run this second car and under Aaron's leadership we've had success. It's not easy to have a fly-in group of part-timers perform like they have but we're fortunate to have some veteran guys in our corner. Plus, the regular guys on the GEICO dragster (of teammate Richie Crampton's car) have jumped in and helped a bunch. When we do have two cars, we run as well as any two-car team out there, in my opinion."

Brainerd marks the start of a busy stretch for Lucas and his part-time crew as they plan to run their car alongside Crampton's primary team car in five of the last eight races of the year.

"It's going to be a fun couple of months and I couldn't think of a better place to kick it all off than Brainerd," Lucas said. "It's our second home up there."

Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:30 and 6 p.m., Friday, and 1:30 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all qualifying and elimination action.


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