Morgan hoping to make the grade in his Lucas Oil/MAVTV Mustang

Morgan hoping to make the grade
in his Lucas Oil/MAVTV Mustang

PHOENIX - RIS - The best way to get back on track, according to Lucas Oil/MAVTV Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan, is to put your head down and go to work.

That's just what Morgan and his race team did to prepare for this weekend's NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird Int'l Raceway, the second stop in the 24-event Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Morgan failed to qualify for the season opener in Pomona because of issues that hurt parts in three different engines.

"The only good thing that happened this week was my kid making the dean's list," Morgan said. "I called to tell him because he didn't even know. We get the report card at home. He said, 'Tell me about you Dad.' I said, 'Well, I stunk. I was 19th and didn't do very well.' He said, 'Well, there's one way to look at it: There's only one way to go, and that's up.' And he's right."

Austin Morgan made the dean's list at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and his dad hopes to enjoy similar success this weekend after his team worked hard to figure out the problems that haunted them in Pomona.

"I think we found out what we were doing wrong," Morgan said. "We had a new ignition box and we misunderstood a few things we did with it. It's unfortunate it happened the way it did."

Morgan wasn't alone in dealing with the Southern California air.

"The air was so dry there," Morgan said. "It was real hard to tend. I wasn't the only one who tore stuff up. I think Erica Enders hurt an engine, Shane Gray hurt one, and Warren Johnson hurt one. There were a lot of guys who had engine issues.

"We were just too lean with not enough fuel in it. I can't believe I ran what I did. Now, I'll be on the nervous side in Phoenix. But you know what? I may be better off."

Morgan, a runner-up in Phoenix in 1993, is a Pro Stock veteran who knows how to get through the tough times. He has scored 10 victories in his 26-year career and reached the Countdown to the Championship in 2012 after missing three races during the regular season.

"We got one engine fixed and it's good," Morgan said. "It's on its way to Phoenix and we'll finish another one before we leave Thursday afternoon. We'll be back at it again."

Qualifying for the NHRA Arizona Nationals gets under way at 2 p.m. PST Friday from Firebird Int'l Raceway with two sessions on tap. Qualifying continues on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with Sunday's eliminations under way at 11 a.m. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 1 a.m. EST on Sunday and the elimination show at 8 p.m. Sunday.


Dusty Brandel

President of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Inc. Worked with Mike Hollander since Tapsis, Compuserve, etc. and has posted to the website since the beginning. First Female photo-journalist to be given a garage and pit pass for the NASCAR garage, 1972 at Ontario Motor Speedway. One of first seven female writers, photographers given access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage and pits in 1971. Past President of Greater Los Angeles Press Club, 1992-96, and first female editor of the 8-Ball publication for the Press Club

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Volume 2012, Issue 10, Posted 8:33 PM, 02.22.2013