GEICO's Lucas sets national elapsed time record in Reading
READING, Pa. (Oct. 6) - NHRA math can be a fuzzy thing sometimes, just ask Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.
Where else but in drag race can a guy (Lucas) set the national record for elapsed time but still be the No. 2 qualifier for Sunday's eliminations at the 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals.
Lucas' pass of 3.733 seconds at 330.96 mph eclipsed Del Worsham's record run of 3.735 set last year at Maple Grove Raceway. Lucas' Friday night run 3.760 at 326.95 mph is within the mandated one percent required to validate the record.
The complicating variable is that Dave Grubnic ran a quicker 3.728-second lap at 327.11 mph to take the No. 1 spot for Sunday's race, but Grubnic still hasn't made a run that backs up the record.
"Even if it's just for a night, we're the national record holders," Lucas said. "All Grubnic has to do is make a run similar to what he did today, but right now that record is ours. I never fathomed actually holding the national record at this level of the sport.
"I can't tell you how proud of the team I am. This is too cool, and a testament to the work the guys are putting into the GEICO car."
If Lucas leaves the race as the national ET record holder, he will earn 20 bonus points - the equivalent of one round of racing.
Lucas said he was a little nervous rolling to the line before his booming pass because the car shook during Q3 earlier in the day.
"After the first round today when we shook (the tires), I had a pit in my stomach, but sometimes you have to make bigger moves than you think you have to," Lucas said. "That's what happened on that run there. We kept having problems getting wheel speed early. It's a step in the right direction but we think we can do better.
"If we can make our early numbers match up to the back half runs we've been making, we feel like the car can't run a 3.70-flat."
If the forecasted rain holds off, Lucas squares off against No. 15 qualifier Dom Lagana in Sunday's opening round. Lagana's qualifying lap was in 3.922 seconds at 279.09 mph.
"If the car gets past the Tree, we'll feel good about our chances against anybody," Lucas said. "Our confidence is as good as it's been all year. The move we made today is a great start. We just have to keep working at it."
Eliminations at the Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday.