Making the Countdown cut at forefront of Morgan's mind
NEWARK, OH Ė Veteran drag racer Larry Morgan continues his quest to get the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang into Pro Stock's Countdown to the Championship, the NHRA's version of the playoffs.
Heading into this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Morgan is just outside of the Full Throttle top 10, a ranking he needs to attain to make the Countdown. He's currently in 11th place, 15 points behind Ron Krisher for the final spot.
"We're making progress," Morgan said. "We're qualifying, which is good. Now we need to take that next step and get up into the top half of the field and win rounds every weekend."
Getting close to the top eight in qualifying might also help Morgan avoid past world champion Mike Edwards, who has bounced Morgan in the first round in three of the last four races. Morgan's best qualifying effort of the season has been 11th, which he accomplished at Phoenix and Houston.
Pro Stock drivers are rarely 100 percent satisfied with the performance of their cars, and Morgan has been zeroed in on the clutch of his Mustang as a source of improvement.
"I'm trying to figure out the problem," Morgan said. "We're feeling good about the power in the engine, but we've been burning through the clutch. We're going to go up to Norwalk (Ohio) and do some testing before we go to Chicago.
"I donít think our parts are junk, but we have been having some issues. We're hoping the test straightens things out and we'll be strong when we get to Chicago."
The O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals get under way Friday with two qualifying sessions starting at 4 p.m. CDT. Qualifying continues Saturday with another two sessions, also getting under way at 4 p.m. Sunday's eliminations will get under way at 11 a.m. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 6 p.m. EDT on Saturday night and eliminations at 6 p.m. Sunday.