Lucas Oil's Morgan hopes to make a move at Maple Grove 'mineshaft'
NEWARK, OH – Since moving to a fall event, the 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals and Maple Grove Raceway have developed a reputation of being a Pro Stock playground.
Veteran Larry Morgan, driver of the Lucas Oil Ford Mustang, said he's going to put in overtime this week at the shop to make sure all his parts are in tip-top shape for the weekend so he can take advantage of anything the track and weather conditions offer.
"I'd love to move up a spot or two in the standings before the year is over," Morgan said. "We've got a good shot to getting that done starting this weekend in Reading. That place can be a real mineshaft if the weather is good, and it looks like it will be. This is one of those races where you'd love to be a fan sitting up there watching it all unfold."
Morgan currently sits eighth in the Pro Stock standings, just four points behind seventh-place Ron Krisher and 56 points behind sixth-place Mike Edwards.
"We've had a long stretch of races in a row and a lot of time away from the shop," Morgan said. "The car seems to be chewing through valve springs lately, so we'll have to figure out why that's happening. Otherwise, we're ready to get after it. The guys in front of us and the ones right behind us are all just as hungry as we are. We'll need to be on our toes, but I've been racing Maple Grove for a long time so I know what to do."
There are few places on the Full Throttle Series where one can show off engine performance better than Maple Grove Raceway, back yard of the late, legendary Pro Stock ace Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.
"The air is always so good there," Morgan said. "There's a lot of oxygen in the air with all those trees in that little valley. Plus, it's always a place where the Pro Stock fans come out in force, which we like. I'm hoping it's going to be a good race for us.
"I always enjoy going out there and I hope the track is good to us this time through."
Qualifying for the USJ Auto Plus NHRA Nationals gets under way 1 p.m. EDT on Friday with two sessions on tap. Qualifying continues at 11 a.m. Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 12:30 a.m. EDT Sunday and the eliminations show at 7 p.m. Sunday.