By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Last week, Morgan Lucas decided to shock the National Hot Road Association and its fans by taking a hiatus from his Morgan Lucas Racing Top Fuel dragster. He will be replaced in his Top Fuel dragster by Richie Crampton for the 2014 season and beyond.
But he will still pilot the Top Fuel dragster for the final two races of the season, before working on his parents’ company, Lucas Oil Products, for the time being. Yet, on October 2nd, 2013, Lucas had a once-in-a-lifetime experience that may not come again.
Lucas and his mother, Charlotte, made a special trip to Arlington National cemetery as a special guest of Hot Rods for Heroes. Lucas has become aware of this non-profit organization after they brought veterans and their families to NHRA events throughout the country.
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“The Arlington National ceremony trip was special for every obvious reason, but the Hot Rods for Heroes group has been coming to drag racing events for a while,” said Lucas. “They have been trying to get veterans in an entertaining atmosphere, as they give back. They put together this program, including a golf tournament. They offered us the opportunity to do this, and I obviously wasn’t going to refuse that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal for me, and I jumped on board. My mother Charlotte also came with me, as my guest, and it was pure awesome to see the change of the guard. You know the emotion behind that cemetery already.”
This was the first time that Lucas was able to attend an event at Arlington National cemetery. He brought his mother Charlotte since his wife, the former Katie Pallone, is not able to fly with the couple’s first child, a son, due in December.
“It was my first time going to Arlington National cemetery,” said Lucas. “I have seen it on TV and read about that place, but I got much more understanding of just being there. This is a structure here that is beautiful, and a place that honors our past fallen heroes. It was somber walking through those doors, and then all of a sudden, it clicks why you are there.”
Morgan Lucas Racing is an American-based team. All of their sponsors are from the United States. And, according to Lucas, one of his crew members served in the military.
“Almost everybody at one point or another knows somebody in the military,” said Lucas. “But the bottom line is America is America, because the military is there, and due to the sacrifices that the military has made to make us safe on a yearly basis. As Brandon’s [Brandon Bernstein] hauler says, ‘American Real’ and I don’t want to take a dollar from the military. I would rather find a way to give back to the military.”
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While Lucas is presently not tied to a military organization, he did say that he has a big interest in the Wounded Warriors Project. The mission of the Wounded Warriors Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.
“Someday, I would like to get involved with them,” said Lucas. “There are so many people that come back that are affected in a negative way, and I want to give back to them. I won’t do it to make me feel good, but this is what we should do as Americans. Our country just assumes that things happen, but they don’t know half of the things that go on. And doing something for a group like the Wounded Warriors Project or Hot Rods for Heroes, are true military non-profit organizations. It’s a great deal, and as a country, we’re going to have to step up and appreciate what we have and the sacrifices that these men and women put their lives through. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to drive my car, and we wouldn’t have a country.”
Morgan’s son is weeks away from being born. Yet, two decades from now, the soon-to-be father said he would support his son’s decision should he select to go into the military.
“I would stand behind him,” said Lucas. “I would look at that as a selfless act – someone with a heart like that would have a lot of integrity and the mind of a servant. If he did that, I would hope that he would put others before himself.”
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