LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Nov. 2, 2014) – Morgan Lucas ran two of the three quickest passes in NHRA history on the way to winning the Auto Club NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Sunday, giving Toyota its 18th victory in NHRA Nitro competition this season.
Lucas defeated Billy Torrence and Shawn Langdon in the first two rounds. He then defeated another fellow Toyota driver in Antron Brown with a track record 3.707-second pass – at the time, the second-quickest pass in history. He then defeated Tony Schumacher in the final with a 3.704-second, breaking his newly-established track record.
“It was crazy,” said Lucas, who won his second race of the season while running a limited seven-race schedule. “In the first round we had a good solid run, but we loaded up for round two and we caught a break to win after we lost a cylinder early. In the semi’s, we went out and ran our best-ever pass – and then we bettered that in the finals. It was amazing.”
Lucas’ Morgan Lucas Racing (MLR) teammate Richie Crampton was the top qualifier on Saturday with a 3.711-second pass – which stood as the second-quickest pass in NHRA history until Lucas surpassed him on Sunday. Crampton would win his first-round match-up on Sunday vs. Troy Buff before falling to Schumacher in the second round. Overall, the MLR team ran three of the four quickest passes in NHRA history during the weekend, falling just shy of Antron Brown’s all-time record of 3.701.
Brown earned his 13th semi-final appearance of the season by defeating Clay Millican and Dom Lagana. Langdon knocked off Spencer Massey in the opening round before his match-up with Lucas, while his Al-Anabi Racing teammate Khalid alBalooshi lost in round one.
In Funny Car, it was number one qualifier Alexis DeJoria leading the way among the Toyota Camry drivers by reaching her sixth semi-final in the last 10 races. She defeated Gary Densham in round one and then registered the quickest Funny Car pass of the day with a 4.012-second run against Robert Hight in round two, before eventually losing to John Force in the semi-finals.
DeJoria’s teammate Del Worsham beat Jack Beckman in his opening run and then went on to lay down a 4.027-second pass only to be knocked off by Tommy Johnson on a hole-shot. The Kalitta Motorsports Camrys ran three of the four quickest elimination runs on Sunday.
Cruz Pedregon, who qualified fourth, Chad Head and Tony Pedregon all lost in their opening rounds.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will kick off its 2015 campaign with the 55th annual Winternationals in Pomona, Feb. 6-8.
Toyota NHRA Toyota Nationals Post-Race, 2-2-2-2
|Toyota Drivers||NHRA Toyota Nationals Results|
|Richie Crampton||GEICO/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||4/Rd. 2|
|Khalid alBalooshi||Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||9/Rd. 2|
|Shawn Langdon||Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||10/Rd. 2|
|Antron Brown||Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster||11/Rd. 1|
|Del Worsham||DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car||12/Winner|
|Alexis DeJoria||Patrόn XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car||9/Rd. 1|
|Tony Pedregon||Micro Strategies Toyota Camry Funny Car||13/Rd. 1|
|Cruz Pedregon||Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry Funny Car||DNQ|
2014 Toyota NHRA Winners (18):
Top Fuel (13): alBalooshi (2), Pomona1, Sonoma; Brown (6), Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston, Chicago, Norwalk, St. Louis; Crampton (2), Englishtown, Indianapolis; Langdon (1), Bristol; Lucas (2) Brainerd, Pomona2
Funny Car (5): DeJoria (3), Phoenix, Las Vegas, Indianapolis; C. Pedregon (1), Englishtown; Worsham (1), Las Vegas2
2014 Toyota Number One Qualifiers (16):
Top Fuel (7): Langdon (3), Gainesville, Charlotte, Norwalk; Brown (3), Las Vegas, Epping, Brainerd; Crampton (1), Pomona2
Funny Car (9): Pedregon (3), Gainesville, Englishtown, Reading; Worsham (3), Houston, Bristol, Norwalk; DeJoria (3), Atlanta, Charlotte2, Pomona2
- Today’s victory was Morgan Lucas’ second of the season, despite running a limited schedule of just seven races. It is the 11th Top Fuel victory of his career. For the season, he advanced to the semi-finals or beyond four times in seven races.
- All four of the Morgan Lucas Racing team’s victories this season have come in the seven races that the team campaigned two cars. The victories came at Gainesville (Morgan Lucas), the Toyota Nationals at Englishtown (Richie Crampton), the U.S. Nationals (Crampton) and today’s NHRA Finals (Morgan Lucas).
- Alexis DeJoria advanced to today’s semi-final, marking the 10th time she’s advanced to the semi-finals or beyond this season and the sixth time in the last 10 races.
- Antron Brown closed out his season by advancing to the semi-finals or beyond 13 times. Included among those were six victories, two finals appearances and five semi-final showings.
- Today’s victory was the 18th for a Toyota-sponsored car in NHRA Nitro competition this season with 13 coming in Top Fuel and five in Funny Car. Eight different Toyota drivers have won this season – three in Funny Car and five in Top Fuel.
Toyota NHRA Finals Post-race, 3-3-3-3
Morgan Lucas, Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel Dragster: “It was crazy. In the first round we had a good solid run, but we loaded up for round two and we caught a break to win after we lost a cylinder early. In the semi’s, we went out and ran our best-ever pass – and then we bettered that in the finals. It was amazing. It’s really special because we were able to come out and run this way with my family here, my wife’s family here and with a lot of friends on hand. It was a true family affair today.”
Alexis DeJoria, Patron XO Café” Toyota Camry Funny Car: ““This season definitely exceeded our expectations. We won our first race, which was awesome, but then we won a second, and then a third! It has just been an incredible year for the Patrón XO Café’ Toyota Camry Funny Car team. I’m so grateful to Tommy [DeLago], Glen [Huszar], my team and all of our amazing sponsors. We’ve worked really hard this year to accomplish what we had and to make a huge turnaround, and we’re only going to get better. I’m going to get better as a driver. I learn so much from every run and every race, and I’m taking all of that into next season. To finish off in Pomona with a semi-final and a three second run which landed us in the No. 1 qualifying spot, man that’s going to be good memories these next two months off the off-season!”
Antron Brown, Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster: "Not a bad weekend at all. We ran really good in qualifying. We're really happy. This is our new package that we'll be running next year and we definitely gained a lot of data and knowledge on it. The Matco Tools/U.S. Army boys did a heck of a job. We just lost a good drag race. We went out there and put up a solid lap like we thought we needed to win. Morgan Lucas and (crew chief) Aaron Brooks just didn't care. They don't care. It seems like when we go up against them, they always throw low ET of the event down on us. We just can't seem to line up next to them at the right time and take advantage of them. They got us this time and we'll just go to work on it."
Richie Crampton, GEICO/Lucas Oil Toyota Top Fuel dragster: "I'm eternally grateful to Forrest, Charlotte, and Morgan Lucas for giving me this incredible opportunity to realize my dream this year. I'm humbled by the faith GEICO, Lucas Oil, Toyota, and all the other sponsors of this team showed in an unproven driver. This year has been beyond anything I could have hoped for and it's a bit sad it's over. Of course, I wanted to reward everyone with one more win and we had the car to beat Schumacher. It just came down to a few inches and he was on the right side of it this time. No matter, we still had a great weekend and a superb year and I'm so pleased with everything that's happened."
Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Top Fuel dragster: ““It was a tough weekend for the Al-Anabi team. We were able to make a good run in the first round; we felt like we had a good handle on it, but it shook the tires in the second round. We just missed the setup a little bit. It was an unfortunate way to end the year. We really expected better results from the Al-Anabi team this year, but we know, as well as everyone else, that the Al-Anabi team is a great team. We have so many great people on this team; we just had a bad year. That’s really all it was. We’ll be back next year, and we’ll be better – I can guarantee you that.””
|Top Fuel Championship||Points||Behind Leader (2501)|
|4. Shawn Langdon||2367||- 134|
|7. Antron Brown||2324||- 177|
|8. Khalid alBalooshi||2292||- 209|
|10. Richie Crampton||2238||- 263|
|Funny Car Championship||Points||Behind Leader (2510)|
|6. Del Worsham||2341||- 169|
|8. Alexis DeJoria||2300||- 210|
|10. Cruz Pedregon||2206||- 304|
|14. Tony Pedregon||719||- NA|
|15. Chad Head||701||- NA|
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