NORWALK, Ohio (November 6, 2013) – Winning a world championship in your own car, that is one thing.
Winning in someone else's car, that is an entirely different animal.
With issues arising in his own car just one week prior to the Summit World Finals in Memphis, Lillington, North Carolina's Tim Lucas was left with one option and one option only – find another car or miss the Summit SuperSeries championship race. While a number of different options existed for Lucas, at the end of the day there was only one car he wanted to drive with so much on the line, the tried and true Chevrolet Nova of longtime IHRA racer Donald Webb.
Having built the engine for Webb's car himself, Lucas knew a thing or two about one of the winningest rides in the south. Now, with over $10,000, a brand new dragster and much more on the line, Lucas was ready to wield the familiar yet not-quite-his-own car through four rounds of competition against the best Top ET racers from across North America.
"This whole weekend was done on borrowed equipment," Lucas said with a laugh. "I hurt my car the week before so I asked Donald if I could borrow his car. I also borrowed my bosses truck because I didn't want to bring my motorhome over the mountains and I got to work.
"Having built the motor in Donald's car, I have been behind the wheel before and I know a little bit about it. But to race a different car with so much on the line, it was a bit overwhelming."
Three days, roughly a dozen passes and four exciting rounds later, Lucas crossed the finish line a world champion, by far the biggest win in his 28 year racing career.
"This is all just unbelievable. The good Lord was riding with me, my family is here with me, all of my friends got to watch me win, it is just a dream come true," Lucas said. "Coming into this weekend everyone has been telling me that they had a good feeling about the race, but you never actually picture yourself winning. To be standing here right now, I am just at a loss for words. It is just super."
Lucas' road to the championship went through racers representing tracks up and down the east coast ending with a showdown longtime racer Don Boulware from Irving, Texas. With the championship on the line, Boulware showed his stuff in the final with a perfect .000 reaction time to Lucas' .016 light, but Lucas made up that ground on the top end with a brilliant 10.132 second run at 128.27 miles per hour on a 10.12 dial, while Boulware ran a 7.442 on a 7.41 at 175.82 mph.
"In the final I pulled some out of the box. I knew what the car was going to do and he told me what kind of light he had cut so I pulled a few out and then when I pulled into the water box, I popped them back in," Lucas said. "I decided to stay with what has been working and I am glad I did. I nailed it at the line and went on to win. I was nervous earlier in the day, but by the final I had convinced myself that it was just another race, even though I knew that was far from the truth."
Lucas also had wins over Chris Butcher, Eric Boyd and Brad Perkins to reach the final, while Boulware had wins over Kevin Thorp, Dale Smith and Alan Glatt.
Top ET Final – Tim Lucas (near) vs. Don Boulware
Lucas had an unusual path to the finals, getting beat off the line first in each of his first three rounds. He surrendered starting line advantages to Butcher (.015 to .031), Boyd (.007 to .015) and Perkins (.005 to .013), but managed to win each of those matchups.
"On Thursday we made some time runs and I was killing the tree. But by Friday is just lost it," Lucas said. "I simply couldn't find the tree and I don't know what happened, but we were able to overcome it and pull out the win regardless."
With the win Lucas gets a lucrative prize package that includes $10,000 from Summit Racing Equipment, a brand new dragster courtesy of Maddox Race Cars with a Trick Flow big block Ford engine and a Trick Flow livery done by Imagine That Custom Paint. He also receives an Aruba vacation, a gold and silver card, championship Ironman, ring and more.
"You know it is funny, we were parked beside that Summit dragster all weekend and one day there were some boys playing ball beside of it and I told my wife those boys better not hit my car," Lucas said. "I just really think IHRA, Summit and everyone that is involved with this program have done a super job for the bracket guys. There are a lot of bracket guys that would love to run the circuit who can't afford it and this program makes it possible.
"I really want to thank Donald and Cathy Webb, my wife, Ray Willard and everyone that is here helping me this weekend. I also want to thank IHRA, Summit and everyone that helped build this car. Summit has made a dream come true for me."