Keeping Pace

Tiny Butler University makes big impression on Lucas

NHRA Top Fuel driver, Morgan Lucas, who topped St. Louis qualifying on Saturday. (Photo courtesy NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)
NHRA Top Fuel driver, Morgan Lucas, who topped St. Louis qualifying on Saturday. (Photo courtesy NHRA) (The Spokesman-Review)

Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, was motivated by a collection of underdog college basketball players from a small hometown school -- Butler University -- when he attended the NCAA men's Final Four at palatial Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Inspiration can come from the strangest places at times.

This past weekend, Morgan Lucas, driver of the GEICO Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, was motivated by a collection of underdog college basketball players from a small hometown school -- Butler University -- when he attended the NCAA men's Final Four at palatial Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"I'm so happy I decided to go to the Final Four," Lucas said. "It was so amazing to see a group of kids -- and I can officially call them kids because at 26 I am an old man compared to them -- put it all on the line purely for the love of the sport.

"To see how the players lived and died with every shot was great to watch. I was very inspired."

Lucas said he hopes to transfer some of those concepts to his two-car race team heading into this weekend's 23rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.

"We have a lot of passion on our team," Lucas said. "Sometimes we can get bogged down in the day-to-day grind of racing. I'd like to help get the excitement level to back up and figure out how to keep it there. You need to have fun, and sometimes we get away from that."

Lucas said it's easier to keep his enthusiasm high when going to a facility like Houston.

"The Angels are racers at heart," Lucas said of HRP's owners. "They always strive to make the track the best it can be, and they believe in things like bringing the sport back to the quarter-mile. I appreciate their efforts to make the sport better for racers and fans alike.

"I've never had much luck there though. My best finish was reaching the semifinals in a Top Alcohol Dragster back in 2004. Hopefully we can turn that around this weekend."

While trying to change his Houston luck, Lucas said the GEICO Powersports team is going to strive to find more consistency.

"We're trying to straighten the car out right now," Lucas said. "We are trying to make it go down the track more consistently, which we've not been able to do here of late. I'm confident we will get it turned around.

"I know as the leader of the team I need to get the guys to feel good about what we're doing and start having some fun again. Last year, the races where we were relaxed, joking around, and having fun were the ones we ended up winning. I can tell you after seeing Butler and Duke go at it Monday night it reminded me to keep that passion alive. It definitely makes a huge difference."




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.







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