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Tour's latest winner, GEICO pro Lucas, bullish on Indy success
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 27) - Morgan Lucas and the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster are carrying a world of momentum heading into this weekend's 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Lucas and the GEICO team rebounded from a sluggish summer to win at Brainerd last time out and they are looking to collect their fourth win of the season at the biggest event on the NHRA schedule.
"We're a lot closer to having a good handle on the tune-up we need right now," Lucas said. "We don't need to worry about being distracted by clutch discs or other issues; we just need to keep going down the track.
"It's going to be between 80 and 90 degrees all weekend. This track is typically really good, as long as we can get off the starting line. If NHRA keeps doing a good job prepping the track, it should be a good weekend for us."
Lucas took part in the open test at Lucas Oil Raceway last week, and while he said the results weren't exactly as anticipated, the time still produced some positive results.
"Our test went ok," Lucas said. "We tried a bunch of different things and they all didn't pan out the way we'd hoped they would. But that's expected. You have to experiment with some different things when you have the opportunity to do it at a time where won't hurt you."
Thanks to his win in Gainesville earlier this season, Lucas was one of the first drivers to lock up a spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, which will be run for Top Fuel cars in conjunction with Saturday's qualifying. Lucas is looking forward to a little redemption at this race-within-a-race.
"As a rookie, I red-lit in the first round of the last Bud Shootout," Lucas said. "I wasn't even 21 yet. I did red light, but I also qualified No. 1 in the same pass. It was heartbreaking for me at the time, but I'm so glad now that it's come back because I have a chance to make up for it.
"I'm hoping we'll be able to make it to the final, not just for the chance at the money, but just to get an extra run during an important race."
The winner of the Shootout will win $100,000.
Before the big race begins on Friday, Lucas will carry on a tradition he started four years ago with the Eric Medlen Memorial Golf Tournament, which benefits Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent.
"It's going to be a lot of fun," Lucas said. "We've got a lot of great people on board who are going to be playing. I'm not sure, but some teams are bringing in some ringers for the tournament. But it's all in good fun for a great cause."
There will be five total rounds of qualifying at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals this weekend, with the first round of qualifying starting at 7 p.m. EDT on Friday at Lucas Oil Raceway. Pro qualifying picks up on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., which is also where the race-with-a-race Traxxas Nitro Shootout will be contested for Top Fuel. Qualifying resumes at 11 a.m. Sunday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. on Labor Day Monday. ESPN2 is scheduled to air 11 hours of live coverage of the event. Coverage starts from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. EDT on Sunday and then again from 5-7 p.m. On Monday, eliminations coverage will start at noon.
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