Sourced from www.nhra.com
Lucas Earns Gold Medal As NHRA Takes Bobsled Challenge
Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas won the NHRA versus NASCAR portion of the fourth annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Sunday with the best time of the weekend down Mount Van Hoevenberg -- a stunning 47.78-second run in one of Team USA's competition Bo-Dyn bobsleds. Final-round foe Todd Bodine, who dominated the timed portion of the event earlier in the day, flipped over near the end of his final run to give Lucas the win.
"We finally got the win light for the NHRA," Lucas said. "It took us straight-liners a few years, but we got it done, and I feel great. The Team USA guys decided to let us drive the real bobsleds in the final round, and they are completely different than the ones we've been driving. It was like going from a Yugo to a Ferrari, a totally different feeling of speed.
"I'm really lucky I didn't crash down there at the bottom because I basically did the same thing Todd did. The only difference was my sled came down on the runners and his went over."
Bodine was uninjured the mishap and upset with himself after learning he was leading Lucas at every incremental timer before his accident.
"I got into that [Turn 18] corner late, and that's trouble," Bodine said. "You're at the bottom of the hill there and carrying the most speed. Those competition sleds are way faster than the other ones we were driving, and I wasn't ready for it. Hey, that's racing. Morgan said he didn't like winning that way, but I told him it's no different than a guy blowing up or smoking his tires in drag racing. It's just the way it happened. Good for him, and my congratulations to the NHRA team. They're all great guys."
Earlier in the day, Lucas was the best of the NHRA drivers in the first race, which pitted all the drivers from both sides against the clock. He finished just off the podium in fourth place.
Lucas' teammate J.R. Todd came to life late, reaching the third round on the drag racing side of the ladder before bowing to Lucas by .03-second, 49.56 to 49.59. Earlier, Todd had failed to qualify for the individual timed event.
"I finally had a sled today," Todd said. "For whatever reason, we got fast. That was a lot of fun going up against Morgan, and he did a good job for Team NHRA. This weekend was a blast."
Four-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin was solid the entire weekend in his new Jegs.com bobsled. He was the quickest during the Day 1 practice sessions and qualified fourth overall Saturday before finishing fifth in the timed race and in the quarterfinal round of the NHRA versus NASCAR tilt.
"The big winners this weekend are the men and women athletes on the U.S. bobsled team," Coughlin said. "We're doing this for them, and it's an honor to be helping them achieve their dreams and win medals for our country. Most of the team members are here because the World Championships are coming up next month, and we got to see them make runs. Plus, they were coaching us along, which was very cool."
After struggling for much of the event, Bob Vandergriff Jr. ended his trip to Mount Van Hoevenberg with a nasty spill in the first round of the NHRA versus NASCAR race. The Top Fuel veteran turned his Mac Tools/Lincoln Welders bobsled over coming out of Turn 10 and rode upside down for the final 10 turns before safety workers wrangled his sled. He was sore but uninjured in the incident.
"We were letting it all hang out and just went over the edge," Vandergriff said. "We've been slow all weekend, and I just decided to go for it that run because I felt like we had nothing to lose. I'm glad I have a football player's neck because I landed on my head when we went over, and it was a pretty good hit. I didn't manage to get small enough in there until about the fourth or fifth hit. I'm sure I'll be feeling this later."
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