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Improvement has Lucas Oil's Morgan excited for race day



PHOENIX (Feb. 22) - Larry Morgan and the Lucas Oil/MAVTV Ford Mustang team made steady improvement during the Carquest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals this weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, and the veteran driver carries a lot of confidence heading into Sunday's eliminations.

Morgan struggled with the car during Friday's two qualifying sessions and was outside the qualified field, but after working on the tune-up, he recorded a top pass of 6.601 seconds at 209.23 mph in Saturday's Q3 and will start eliminations from the No. 13 spot.

"We did well," Morgan said. "We were ninth-quickest in the first session today, and we knew there was a lot we could improve on. I'm just happy to get this Lucas Oil/Streamlight Ford in the program.

"We finally got the car to go straight today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Morgan was hoping to improve his elapsed time in Q4, but a rare problem cropped up before he could make his pass. One of the bars on the wheelie-bar assembly sheared off, and he had to abort the run before he could stage.

"It sheared off at the top by the sensor," Morgan said. "I've seen it before but not that often. I've seen it two times in my time."

Morgan was looking to dip into the 6.58-second range in Q4, which would have moved him up a couple of spots in the ladder.

"We figured we'd run a .58," Morgan said. "All we did was save gas, I guess."

Morgan will square off against Vincent Nobile in the first round of eliminations after Nobile qualified No. 4 with a pass of 6.551 at 211.16 mph. But Morgan isn't fazed by Nobile's numbers this weekend.

"I've beaten every one of them before," Morgan said. "I'm OK with racing Vincent. I'd just as soon run him as anybody."

Eliminations will kick off at 11 a.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will air eliminations action at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.