Morgan Lucas powered to the second-quickest run in NHRA history on Monday to win the Top Fuel division at the rain-delayed Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, Fla.
Lucas covered the 1,000 feet in his Geico/Lucas Oil dragster in 3.743 seconds at 326.87 mph to hold off seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher, whose U.S. Army dragster lost traction early and finished in 5.289 seconds at 139.63 mph. Schumacher hasn’t won a race in his past nine final-round appearances, dating to October 2010 in Las Vegas.
It was the fifth career victory for Lucas, who was the event’s No. 1 qualifier and who defeated Brady Kalivoda, Spencer Massey and Doug Kalitta in earlier rounds. After making some changes to his team during the off-season, Lucas seems poised to improve on disappointing back-to-back 10th-place points finishes the last two seasons.
With his second final-round appearance of the season, Schumacher is now in the series lead, 14 points ahead of Lucas.
Hight won a tire-smoking pedalfest over Johnny Gray to take the Funny Car title. Both cars lost traction early in the race and were on and off the throttle all the way down the drag strip. Hight managed to guide his Auto Club Ford Mustang across the finish line first in 4.866 seconds at 236.05 mph, while Gray trailed in his Service Central Dodge Charger at 6.074 seconds at 116.09 mph.
It was Hight’s second victory of the season, the 25th of his career and his first at historic Auto-Plus Raceway.
In Pro Stock, Edwards used a holeshot start in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to defeat Greg Anderson for his first win of the season and the 33rd of his career. Edwards finished in 6.566 seconds at 211.30 mph, but his quicker reaction time allowed him to hold off the quicker but losing performance of Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment GXP, which finished in 6.538 seconds at 211.69 mph.
It was the third consecutive final-round appearance for Anderson, who maintains the series lead with the runner-up finish. He sits 44 points in front of Edwards.
Krawiec completed a perfect weekend to open defense of his Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship, defeating teammate Andrew Hines in the final round. Krawiec became only the second racer to earn the maximum 150 points by winning the race, setting the national E.T. record (6.750 seconds), leading all four qualifying sessions and earning the No. 1 qualifying position.
In the final round, he powered his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 6.822-second run at 194.94 mph to cross the finish line five feet in front of Hines, whose identically prepared Harley-Davidson posted a 6.861 seconds at 194.55 mph. It was Krawiec’s third-consecutive Gatornationals victory and the 12th win of his career.
The Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues in two weeks with the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 30-April 1.
Gatornationals final results:
Morgan Lucas, ET 3.743, 326.87 mph, over Tony Schumacher, ET 5.298, 139.63 mph.
Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, ET 4.866, 236.05 mph, over Johnny Gray, Dodge Charger, ET 6.074, 116.09 mph
Mike Edwards, Pontiac GXP, ET 6.566, 211.30 mph, over Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, ET 6.538, 211.69 mph.