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Thu, 11 Sep 2003, 10:35 AM

Manzo, Lucas Looking to Make Moves in Top Alcohol Point Standings
Courtesy of NHRA Marketing
Photo copyright 2003 Auto Imagery, Inc.

MOHNTON, Pa.-- More than 500 racers in NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will compete alongside their professional racing brothers at the Lucas Oil Nationals, September 11-14, 2003. Drivers in Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD), Top Alcohol Funny Car (TAFC), Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas will be at Maple Grove Raceway to continue their quest for points leading to national championships.

The hottest driver in TAD right now is Alan Bradshaw who won three consecutive national events before being forced to withdraw from the US Nationals in Indianapolis when the event was postponed due to rain. However, while the US Nationals were being completed last week, Bradshaw was at the final West Central division race in Earlville, Iowa, where he took the win. The chiropractor from Odessa, Texas, started his win streak in Seattle, won in Denver and again three weeks ago in Brainerd, Minn.

Bradshaw is nearly 100 points ahead of second place racer Morgan Lucas, a 19-year-old rookie driver from Riverside, Calif., who was the winner in the drawn out event in Indianapolis. In third place coming into this event is Tony Bartone of Manhasset, N.Y. Bartone opted to sit out the US Nationals after a disappointing finish at the Northeast division race the week before. Both Bartone and Lucas started the year on a hot streak but have cooled considerably in the summer months. All three drivers are expected to be at Maple Grove Raceway so it could be the turning point in the season for one or more of them.

TAFC points leader Bucky Austin is not expected to be in Maple Grove but there is no shortage of drivers vying to knock him out of first place. The Fife, Wash., resident has a scant 43-point lead over defending national champion Frank Manzo who hails from Morganville, N.J., and is expected to be in Reading this weekend.

Frank Manzo
Just two weeks ago, Manzo was a long way out of first place but on the division level he won two events in one weekend (due to the rescheduling of a rain out) to catapult himself into second place. At the US Nationals he lost in the opening round of competition but he still has three national events from which he can earn points. Manzo has been the defending event champion here for the last three years.

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competitors in Comp Eliminator, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp and Super Gas will head to Memphis, Tenn., for the next national event. The Lucas Oil Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park is scheduled Sept. 18-21.

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