The Leverich Racing Top Fuel Dragster team made two clean A-to-B runs at NHRA Dodge Indy Nationals, setting the stage for improved performance for remainder of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Racing Series Season.
Indianapolis, Ind. – The race day debut for NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driver Joe Morrison will officially go down as a round one loss to Clay Millican. However, the event can be chalked up as a complete win for the Leverich Racing Top Fuel team. The Michigan-based team found and corrected significant problem in the bell housing, made two solid A-to-B runs, and is poised to improve performance as the COVID-restricted NHRA season continues.
When Morrison fired up his Hi-Tech CAM, Inc., EJK Insurance backed Top Fuel Dragster on Sunday August 9th, 2020, he became the 569th driver in NHRA history to officially qualify and compete in the “Kings of the Sport”. The team made the show the day before, running a smooth and efficient 4.146-second elapsed time at 273.83 miles per hour. The effort placed them in the “lucky” number 13 qualifying position, pairing them up with multiple-time IHRA World Champion Clay Millican in the first stanza.
The goal for Sunday’s first round was to slightly improve on their qualifying effort, to give the team a chance of advancing if the number five qualifier were to make a mistake. Prior to Sunday’s eliminations, a few NHRA crew chiefs offered some assistance to help diagnose a troubling condition in the clutch department, that was making the Leverich Racing dragster prone to shaking the tires and driving into tire smoke.
“The modern Top Fuel clutch management system is a highly-complex unit,” noted Morrison. “Since we’ve started the licensing process, we’ve had a gremlin in the bell housing that made this Leverich Racing rail more prone to experiencing tire shake or driving into tire smoke. This caused us to back down the tune up continually, just to get down the track.”
“Thanks to the assistance of a Dom Lagana, we were able to find a hydraulic issue in our clutch system after Saturday’s qualifying session. We made the adjustment, but didn’t want to make other changes, so we could make a solid A-to-B run, gather run data, and move forward.”
The plan worked. Morrison drove his mount to a clean 4.083-ET at 284.56 mph, both career bests in official NHRA competition. Unfortunately, the Mike Kloeber-tuned Millican-driven dragster’s 3.823 and 323 mph effort was just too stout for the Leverich Racing team to pull off an upset.
“The car left soft, but it was incredibly smooth all the way down – so the changes we made in the hydraulic system appear to have worked,” Morrison concluded. “We’re excited about the future, and can’t thank our crew, our sponsors, and fans for their continued support. Hopefully, we’ll have some news about upcoming races from NHRA to share with fans, so we’ll build some racks, make some repairs, and keep chasing those crucial sponsor dollars that will help us build from this weekend’s success.”
Due to US State specific COVID-19 restrictions, and a continual fluid and evolving NHRA Mello Yello Series schedule, the next event for the Leverich Top Fuel team is uncertain. We’ll update our fans and marketing partners as soon as we know for certain which event is next.