Tricky track trips up Lucas Oil's Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan
KENT, WA – Larry Morgan knew he and his Lucas Oil Ford Mustang Pro Stocker would have a fight on their hands in the first round against V Gaines on Sunday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. The veteran driver didn't know the Pacific Raceways track would fight hard too.
The left lane quickly became the lane of choice for the Pro Stock cars, and unfortunately for Morgan, he didn't have the choice. Morgan got a huge jump off the line (.025 seconds reaction time to Gaines' .101), but he shook the tires early and that was the end of the road for Morgan.
"We just had too much clutch," Morgan said. "We just missed it. The track is horrible after the fuel cars and we thought we'd compensated enough for it by leaving a little lower. It didn't work that way."
Gaines crossed the line in 6.614 seconds at 208.55 mph while Morgan coasted across in 9.664 seconds at 94.10 mph.
While disappointed at the loss, Morgan said he's pleased with the direction the team is going.
"We made good runs, other than that one, all weekend," Morgan said. "Everything was going good for us. Now that we're more consistent during qualifying we can start focusing on what we need to do to build for race day."
The race was a key matchup in the battle for the last few spots in the Pro Stock Top 10 ahead of the Countdown, which begins at the conclusion of the U.S. Nationals.
"I don't think we were hurt too bad in the points," Morgan said. "I've got two races to make up that ground."
Only Gaines moved forward on Sunday in the points battle, Morgan, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Ron Krisher all lost their first round races, which squeezes the battle even more.
Up next for Morgan is the Aug. 17-19 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn.