Morgan makes most of second chance, clinches playoff berth
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – As the rain was falling on Lucas Oil Raceway last weekend, Larry Morgan wanted nothing more than to get another opportunity to show that his Lucas Oil Ford Mustang was worthy of inclusion into both the elimination field of the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus and the Countdown to the Championship in Pro Stock.
With one 6.621-second pass at 208.10 mph, Morgan accomplished both tasks on a dry Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis.
"We sure are excited," Morgan said. "We've invested a lot of time and effort into getting this car into the Countdown. If we wouldn't have been able to get in, then it would have been shame on us. But at least we got our chance to get in and we did it."
Morgan's lap was good enough for No. 14 on the ladder and earned him a first-round matchup with Greg Anderson, who ran a 6.556 at 210.87 mph to qualify in the No. 3 spot.
"We can't take too much time to celebrate getting into the Countdown," Morgan said. "We'd like to win a round or two tomorrow and improve our standing."
Exactly where Morgan ends up in the final regular season standings is still very much up in the air, because he, V. Gaines and Jeg Coughlin Jr. are still tightly grouped together. Morgan locked his spot in the Countdown when both Shane Gray and Ronnie Humphrey failed to qualify for the race.
No one outside the Top 10 who made the race has a mathematical chance of overtaking Morgan, no matter where he finishes.
"We had a lot of pressure on us all week long," Morgan said. "We made a quick trip up to Michigan last week to make some runs and it obviously helped us.
"Hopefully we'll have a trick or two up our sleeves for Sunday and we'll send Greg home."
Eliminations for the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus gets under way at 11 a.m. Sunday from Lucas Oil Raceway.
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