Seatle, Washington (August 7, 2016) - Morgan Lucas and his part-time Protect The Harvest/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team rolled into the semifinals of the 29th annual ProtectTheHarvest.com NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil on Sunday at Pacific Raceways.
There, he ran into defending Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown, ending what was a solid weekend for Lucas and his Morgan Lucas Racing team.
"No complaints out of this guy," Lucas said. "We're not mad, we're happy, and we've got some confidence and some momentum moving on to the next race. We're a part-time group. What's the worst thing that can happen? You lose first round. We just keep on keeping on."
Lucas faced Leah Pritchett in a first-round matchup of the Nos. 8 and 9 qualifiers, but the race was over for Pritchett before it began. She left .033-second too soon, giving Lucas the win. He made a good run of 3.721 seconds at 325.61 mph to power into the second round.
"We had a lot of people rooting for us last night here in the pit area," Lucas said. "It was pretty funny for our first-round matchup, so that was special in itself. I love (Pritchett crew chief Joe) Barlam to death, so it's not a personal thing necessarily, but for whatever reason that was just the thing, and it was funny."
Lucas kept rolling in the next round with his career-best elapsed time. He needed every bit of it against Tony Schumacher, as the two left with the same reaction time, but Lucas made a pass of 3.702 seconds at 318.09 mph to slip past Schumacher's 3.706 at 326.63 mph.
"Racing against Tony is always hard," Lucas said. "The guy's got more laps than probably anybody driving now, and he's got so much talent, so you try to gear up. I missed the Tree a little bit, but thank God we left together. And we got a career-best in the process, so that was a really special thing for me."
Lucas lost power in his semifinal race against Brown, running a 4.679 at 157.17 mph while Brown sped to the final with a run of 3.736 seconds at 322.58 mph.
"Still haven't gotten that 3.60 run, but I think good runs per capita of runs is doing all right," Lucas said. "For some reason the power level was just down and the motor didn't get through the clutch out in the middle and just spun. Not sure why, but it happened and we just move on."