Keeping Pace

Lucas tops Top Fuel qualifying at Royal Purple Raceway

Morgan Lucas powers to his number one qualifying position at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, Texas. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)
Morgan Lucas powers to his number one qualifying position at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, Texas. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)

The GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel team of Morgan Lucas ran low E.T. of the event during Friday evening’s qualifying session and the 3.772 second pass at 327.74 mph held up as the No. 1 qualifying position throughout Saturday’s warm weather conditions.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

BAYTOWN, Texas – Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas raced to his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway.

 

Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were No. 1 qualifiers and will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. elimiantions at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event near Houston.

 

The GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel team ran low E.T. of the event during Friday evening’s qualifying session and the 3.772 second pass at 327.74 mph held up as the No. 1 qualifying position throughout Saturday’s warm weather conditions.

 

“We were real fortunate that the Friday night session ran a little late for us, and we got the conditions to run that big number [3.772],” Lucas said. “We also had the opportunity to test a little bit [with the hotter temperatures] today, but for tomorrow we’ll put the car back to where we know it can run well. We obviously have a good handle on the car and can make it run consistent 3.80s.”

 

Lucas will start from the No. 1 position for the eighth time of his career and will face No. 16 qualifier Troy Buff in the opening round.

 

No one in Funny Car was able to better Pedregon’s Friday pass of 4.103 at 305.29. The Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry will start from the No. 1 position for the second time this season and 47th time of his career. He will face No. 16 qualifier Gary Densham in round one.

 

“Thankfully we made two good runs yesterday because we dropped a cylinder on both runs today,” said Pedregon of his eighth career No. 1 qualifying effort at Royal Purple Raceway. “The good news is that we stayed No. 1. I’m already thinking about race day.”

 

In Pro Stock, Johnson held onto the No. 1 spot through Saturday’s qualifying efforts as no one was able to outrun the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger’s Friday evening pass of 6.545 at 211.73.

 

“Our motto in the Mopar camp is ‘consistency’ and I think we’ve accomplished that this weekend,” Johnson said. “We weren’t quite as fast as we wanted to be, but we were just a hundredth off. I think tomorrow will be a knock-down drag-out, but the Mopar Avenger team is ready for that. Everybody has their winning hats on and we’re learning how to win.”

 

This is Johnson's second No. 1 of the season and 20th of his career. Johnson will race Shane Gray and his Tire Kingdom GXP Sunday morning.

 

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Lucas Oil rider Arana set low E.T. of the weekend during Saturday’s final qualifying session when he posted a performance of 6.850 seconds at 194.86 mph and secured his first No. 1 of the season and 18th of his career. Arana’s Lucas Oil Buell teammate and son Hector Arana Jr. is qualified second in the 16-bike field.

 

“We just worked hard,” Arana said. “We know the Harleys are fast, but we can’t think about them. We just keep working and the results show. I was happy when I ran but I felt even better when my son [Arana Jr.] was No. 2.We keep tuning on the bike and little by little it’s getting better. We’re making excellent runs and that’s what’s giving us an edge.”

 

Arana will race the No. 16 qualifier Mike Berry in the opening round of eliminations Sunday and Arana Jr. will face Steve Johnson the No. 15 qualifier.




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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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