This season, Morgan Lucas Racing’s two-car Top Fuel team was turning heads.
Then, MLR had a forgettable weekend at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) June 15-17 as both Lucas and his teammate Brandon Bernstein failed to qualify.
Lucas’ best qualifying run was 4.778 seconds and Bernstein came in at 4.221 seconds. That left them 20th and 18th and outside of the 16-car field.
“We just didn’t make the right calls in Bristol on either side,” Lucas said. “We went up trying to run the car for the track conditions we were getting and the way that we ran in previous races when it went down the track and for some reason it wouldn’t take. We were just trying to go off our previously acquired data as what we were capable of doing in those conditions and the track just was not as good as the other tracks we have been to. We had the same race track as everybody else did and that’s why we didn’t make the right calls when we needed to.”
Lucas isn’t going to dwell on his team’s Bristol troubles.
“That is just going to be part of the growing pains,” Lucas said. “It is Joe (Barlam’s) first-year as a crew chief and Aaron (Brooks’) first year with the dragsters and it is something we have to tune out and move on. Maybe in the past we have made knee-jerk reactions and maybe shook things up so to speak, but right now it is just more about keeping the confidence going.”
Barlam is Bernstein’s crew chief and Brooks is the wrench boss for Lucas.
Lucas said his team will take a different approach at the Route 66 Nationals Thursday through Sunday at Chicago.
“We are going to go into Chicago a little more cautious as far as qualifying goes and just work on the consistency,” Lucas said. “I think once we get a lot of those consistency issues ironed out and get it back on the right path we can work on trying to make it faster in those conditions. Chicago is going to be hot and going to be tricky and we just have to go up there and mind our p’s and q’s.”
Lucas and Bernstein are fifth and eighth in the point standings.
“It is still a long season and we are in charge of our own destiny, that’s the only way there is to look at it,” Lucas said.
Lucas has two wins this season at Gainesville, Fla., and Houston. Bernstein had a season-best runner-up finish at Englishtown, N.J.
Lucas said he and Bernstein have a test session planned for July 9 at Norwalk, Ohio’s Summit Motorsports Park. Norwalk’s NHRA national event is scheduled for July 5-8.
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