Tag Archives: Morgan Lucas

MEDIA MATTERS: GEICO’s Morgan Lucas Lights Night with Brainerd Top Fuel Win

18 Aug

“It was a dark and stormy night . . . .” The oft-used sentence found in the opening of novels ended a long and stormy day at Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota, as favorite son, Morgan Lucas, driving the GEICO / Lucas Oil dragster, won the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in a fiery, dramatic finals pairing.

The thrilling and dramatic Top Fuel final made ESPN's Top Ten Plays of the Day as No. 5.

The thrilling and dramatic Top Fuel final made ESPN’s Top Ten Plays of the Day as No. 5.

In epic drama, Lucas won a pedalfest for the ages with the tough points-leader Doug Kalitta driving the Mac Tools Dragster in the other lane. Kalitta jumps off the line with a slight advantage and the confidence that comes with having bested Lucas more times than not. He goes up in tire smoke quickly; then Lucas joins in the slick-fest. Both pedal numerous times when Kalitta’s dragster loses power coasting to the line.

Lucas crosses the finish on fire less than a car length ahead of Kalitta

Lucas crosses the finish on fire less than a car length ahead of Kalitta

Lucas explained, “It got out there and the car kind of broke the tires loose. 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.

In the darkness the engine let go with a brilliant fireball like all of the celebratory fireworks exploding at once. “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.’ ”

In the pits, preparing to race at Brainerd

In the pits, preparing to race at Brainerd

The track announcer said the lead changed at least three times in a thrilling finish that set the startline crowd jumping and hugging in the excitement.

“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.”

The beautiful GEICO dragster piloted by Richie Crampton captured a Countdown slot at Brainerd

The beautiful GEICO dragster piloted by Richie Crampton

“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.” The Zoo is a friendly name for the on-site campground where the theme “Let the Good Times Roll” is a religion and sleep is postponed until returning to work on Monday.

Lucas sent No. 1 qualifier Antron Brown and his Matco Tools railer to the trailer in the semifinals after parking Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors Dragster in the quarterfinals.

Lucas won the day by besting both the race’s top qualifier and the class points leader; one could say the GEICO / Lucas Oil dragster was truly on fire in wet, soggy, but after this win, beautiful Brainerd .

Earlier in the day . . . .

Earlier in the day . . . .

In a unique finish to a water-logged day, Top Fuel became the only pro class to finish. The Funny Car finals between John Force and Ron Capps will be held in Indy during The Big Go while Pro Stock needs to race the semifinals of Jason Line vs. Dave River and Jeg Coughlin vs. Vincent Nobile to get their final pair. If Line were to win, it would be his first victory at his “original” home track, yet technically winning the Brainerd race at Indy isn’t in the Minnesota lakes area, but it is doubtful Line would complain at all.

Lucas also won Brainerd in 2009 and 2012 after making his pro debut at this same track in 2004 by taking the seat of Joe Amato’s dragster. This is the young Lucas Oil executive’s tenth win in ten years. “It’s our second home up here.”

Rob Geiger, GeigerMedia Global, and Forrest Lucas celebrate Morgans big win.

Rob Geiger, GeigerMedia Global, and Forrest Lucas celebrate Morgans big win.

In earning the final pair, Lucas trailered Bob Vandergriff Jr., his first victim in a thrilling day for the oil titans that allowed his Lucas teammate, Richie Crampton, to capture a remaining slot in the Countdown to the Championship. Blowing up in the first and final rounds gave Lucas a bookend of fire for the day . . . a dubious award but worth it to win at his favorite track. “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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iHarmonizing Competition

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