ENNIS, Texas — official release — NHRA photo — Lucas Oil/GEICO driver Morgan Lucas made a lot of Top Fuel teams happy during the first round of the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals on Sunday, but before he and his Morgan Lucas Racing team could complete their work, the race was postponed.
The Charlotte event will be completed during the NHRA FallNationals next weekend at Texas Motorplex, a race Lucas was not originally scheduled to enter, but he and his part-time team will now indeed race in Dallas.
Lucas, the No. 14 qualifier, beat No. 3 qualifier and points leader Doug Kalitta in the first round in Charlotte. Lucas’ pass was 3.782 seconds at 322.27 mph, winning a close race over Kalitta’s 3.787 at 324.36 mph.
“We said before this race that we’d try to come in and mix it up a little bit and try to help block,” Lucas said. “That was a good example of what we could do. I’m really happy about the win, although that’s just one round. We wanted to keep going rounds, we wanted to keep making sure we were doing everything we can to slow down as much momentum as we can, but that’s part of it, and we’ll figure it out.”
Lucas’ win helped MLR teammate Richie Crampton and the other drivers in the Countdown to the Championship, which began in Charlotte. Lucas will line up against Khalid alBalooshi in Charlotte’s round two (in Dallas) after alBalooshi beat Shawn Langdon in the first round.
Top Fuel and Funny Car completed its first round, but during Pro Stock eliminations Vieri Gaines crashed in the left lane, and Pro Stock teams went back to their pit area.
Rain later fell on the track, and NHRA officials decided to postpone the race after examining the track surface.