Keeping all eight cylinders going in the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster in the heat and altitude of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals was a challenge all weekend for Morgan Lucas and his crew. On Sunday at Bandimere Speedway, it was their undoing.
"We couldn't figure out the fuel system at all this weekend," Lucas said. "It's really disappointing and we're all pretty dejected about how this weekend went. I've never had a lot of luck or success here on the mountain.
"I know what this car can do a sea level, so we'll put this race behind us and move on to the next race."
Lucas was paired with Bob Vandergriff in the first round of Sunday's race and they were the first cars out on the track during eliminations.
The cars were dead-even off the starting line with identical .059 second reaction times. Unfortunately for Lucas, one of his cylinders burnt out on the hit of the throttle and, suddenly down 1,000 horsepower, all Lucas could do nothing but watch Vandergriff slowly pull away.
Despite being down on power, Lucas crossed the finish line in 4.072 seconds at 296.50 mph. Vandergriff had the second quickest run of the round: a 3.990 at 304.94 mph.
"When the car drops a hole at the step, it's hard to say what it would have done," Lucas said. "You don't what the reaction time would be, what the final number would be. It's hard to say ... we had it tuned up to run a mid-3.90. Who knows, if it would have all eight lit, it still might have smoked the tires. There are a lot of what ifs after a day like this."
The GEICO team will pack up and head to the second stop on the Western Swing, the July 27-29 NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, Calif.
"I'm looking forward to going to that race," Lucas said. "It's where I got my first win and even-numbered years seem to work for me there."