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Aug 18, 2014 - 06:50 AM
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2014 NHRA: Lucas Wins Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals In Spectacular Fashion
Posted by: newsla on Aug 18, 2014 - 06:48 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Lucas Wins Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals In Spectacular Fashion


Morgan Lucas and his Lucas Oil/GEICO crew may be a part-time team, but they put on a full-time celebration after winning his family's namesake race, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Brainerd Int'l Raceway.

 

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Lucas received the Wally trophy from his mom Charlotte at the top end of the racetrack, where he also received congratulations from his dad Forrest.

"She gets more excited than anybody," Lucas said. "My dad was really pumped up. The first thing I said when I saw him at the finish line was, 'I just blew up a lot of your stuff.' He said, 'I know but I'm still smiling about it.' That was a cool thing for your dad to say."

Lucas scored his 10th career win and third at Brainerd in spectacular fashion. After rain delayed the Top Fuel final to a little after 9 p.m. local time, Lucas and Doug Kalitta engaged in an epic pedalfest. Kalitta got ahead but spun the tires badly while Lucas gradually re-engaged after he spun his tires off the line.

As Lucas sped ahead, he blew the engine in the lights but hung on with a pass of 4.886 seconds at 229.55 mph, holding off Kalitta's pass of 4.987 at 256.16 mph.

"It got out there and the car kind of broke the tires loose," Lucas said. "I saw Doug poke out but I knew he was having problems, so I kind of blipped it to straighten it out. I got it cracked a little bit open, and I rolled it back down all the way and got it out there. I knew it was hurt but it's the final, you're not going to leave anything on the table; you're going to go for it.

"Then it lit up, and that was actually kind of cool too because my second thought after 'Hell yeah we just won' was 'Man, this is going to make for great TV.' "

Lucas' first win of 2014 made for great theater as well. He had made two prior starts this year, advancing to the semifinals in each race. In the first round this weekend, Lucas took out Bob Vandergriff Jr., a round-win that enabled Morgan Lucas Racing teammate Richie Crampton to clinch a spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

That was also a holeshot win, as Lucas' .066-second reaction time and 3.780 pass at 317.94 mph beat Vandergriff's run of 3.760 at 321.65 mph.

Lucas then whipped past Steve Torrence in the second round to set up a semifinal match against Antron Brown, the No. 2 driver in the Top Fuel points standings. But Lucas and his dragster were up to the task, as he ran his career-best elapsed time, 3.729 seconds at 323.66 mph.

"That one floored me," Lucas said. "That was funny because I have a bad habit of trying to look up at the scoreboard right when I pop the chutes to see what we ran. I thought it said .72 and I thought, 'Nah, that must be wrong.' I get down there and Antron told me it was .72, and it set me back because that was my career-best run."

Lucas then beat points leader Kalitta in the final, taking out the No. 1 and 2 drivers in the Top Fuel standings.

"That's a cool thing," Lucas said. "They're the best."

But Sunday Lucas and his "Bad News Bears" team, led by crew chief Aaron Brooks,proved they were best.

"It's fun," Lucas said. "This is what I was hoping it would be like: Win, lose, or draw, have a good time. That's what we do. Then when you go rounds, it's added value to it. I'm really lucky that Lucas Oil and GEICO and everyone supports us in what we do; it's really special.

"This might be the most special win because you're not getting 100 to 200 cracks at it during the season. That was our 22nd pass of the season. It's a really cool feeling."

Brainerd is a special place to Lucas and his family, for he made his Top Fuel debut there and won a Top Alcohol Dragster race on the same weekend that his good friend Eric Medlen won in Funny Car.

"It's a special spot because there are a lot of great memories here," Lucas said. "To do it at nighttime with no lights, it's kinda cool. It's one of those where you have to stick a feather in your cap."

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