Morgan Lucas, driver of the Geico Powersports/Lucas Oil Top Fuel Dragster prepares to back into his starting position during qualifying for the 2010 O’Reilly Parts NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway on September 18, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.
(September 17, 2010 – Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images North America)
(PhatzRadio / USA Today) —- POMONA, Calif. – Morgan Lucas raced to the No. 1 qualifying spot in Top Fuel Saturday, as rain shortened qualifying at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Robert Hight and Jason Line were also No. 1 qualifiers in their perspective categories at the first of 23 races in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season.
Lucas powered his dragster to a 3.783-second run at 325.06 mph to take the top spot in the field as teams took advantage of cooler track and air temperatures. It was Lucas’ fifth No. 1 qualifier of his career and first at O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, where he raced to the Top Fuel win one year ago.
Lucas will face Top Fuel pilot Rod Fuller in the first round of eliminations Sunday. A six-time winner at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Tony Schumacher qualified sixth, while 2011 NHRA Top Fuel world champion runner-up Spencer Massey qualified second in the field.
In Funny Car, Hight took advantage of the cool conditions Saturday and drove his Ford Mustang to the top of the field with a run of 4.060 seconds at 316.52 mph to take his third O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals No. 1 qualifier. It was also the 40th of his career.
Hight will line up against Todd Lesenko in the first round of eliminations on Sunday. Hight’s teammate Courtney Force, who is making her Funny Car debut this week, qualified 12th in the field. Defending Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan qualified ninth in the field, while 14-time Auto Club Raceway at Pomona winner John Force qualified sixth.
Defending Pro Stock world champion Line continued his success from 2011 by racing to the top spot in the category. Line’s run in his Pontiac GXP of 6.535 seconds at 212.23 mph was strong enough to give the defending event winner his third No. 1 qualifier at Pomona and 25th