Monday, November 2, 2009

Larry Morgan wins in NHRA Las Vegas Nationals

By Anthony Fenech

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009 | 6:47 p.m.

Larry Morgan wanted his engine back.

It was the finals of Sunday afternoon’s Pro Stock division at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals and Morgan was paired up with Rickie Jones.

The 22-year-old Jones had been driving through Sunday’s bracket using two of Morgan’s spare engines, per a request earlier in the weekend.

But after the semifinals, Morgan took his engine back and won the race, besting Jones for the Pro Stock title.

“My guys thought I shouldn’t give the guy an engine that we know can beat me up,” Morgan said afterward. “I feel good about that.”

Morgan and his Lucas Oil Dodge Stratus ran a time of 6.720 seconds while Jones and his Stratus finished at 6.794 seconds.

Before qualifying, Jones approached the 10-year veteran, skeptical of his engine’s ability in the nationals, and asked if he could use an engine.

“They were kind of crippled coming into this race and he didn’t think his engine felt well enough to get in,” Morgan said. “So I let him have the engine.”

After burning a push rod in Morgan’s first engine, Jones and his team were ready to go home until Morgan lent him his other spare -- with some stipulations: Jones’ qualifying money went to Morgan and if they met in the finals, he would have to use his own engine.

“I love all of these guys out here and I think a lot of Ricky,” Morgan said. “The kid’s good.”

The victory was Morgan’s first in more than seven years, his last coming in 2002 at Sonoma.

In the Funny Car division, Robert Hight beat both his teammate and owner on the way to defeating Jack Beckman in the finals.

Early in the bracket, Hight had to turn in back-to-back victories over teammate Ashley Force Hood and her father, 14-time NHRA champion John Force.

“When you’re on a team like this, you’re expected to win,” Hight said. “We had a good car this weekend and a lot of confidence.”

Hight bested Beckman by .029 seconds, strengthening his point lead in the Funny Car category.

Coming into the weekend, Larry Dixon and his Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing team were only 1 point behind Tony Schumacher in the Top Fuel division.

With a victory in the finals, he would have moved 19 points past Schumacher, but rookie Spencer Massey bolstered his Rookie of the Year campaign by keeping Dixon in second place.

Massey drove The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 3.827 seconds with his dragster hitting 314.53 mph.

“We just came in here and tried to not beat ourselves, which is what we’ve been doing lately,” Massey said. “And we got a handle on it this weekend.”

The victory was Massey’s second in his inaugural year on the circuit, the first coming earlier this season in Chicago.

Indiana native Andrew Hines won the Pro Stock Motorcycle division, beating fellow Indianan Hector Arana. It was Hines’ third win of the season.

Henderson’s Justin Lamb bowed out in the semifinals of the Competition Eliminator, falling to defending world champion Dan Fletcher.

Lamb won the Competition Eliminator in April when the Lucas Oil series visited Las Vegas.

No comments: