Larry Morgan is proud to be the only NHRA Pro Stock driver scheduled to race a Ford at this weekend’s Ford Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, but he’s aggravated by a lack of factory support.
The company has put most of its drag racing resources into the John Force Racing organization, leaving Morgan’s team with mostly table scraps.
“They’re into the Funny Car and the Top Fuel car, but it’s like they don’t care about a real car,” said the 10-time NHRA race winner. “Some day hopefully they’ll understand that the guys that buy cars, this is their type of car.”
The 59-year-old veteran racer from Ohio was equally perturbed by the higher management’s failure to understand their own company’s history in the sport. Morgan’s wife explained to the Ford executives how 10-time Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden carried the Blue Oval banner throughout the 1970’s and 80’s.
“We had a meeting two years ago and those guys thought that John Force was the guy who put Ford where they’re at,” Morgan said. “My wife made it clear it was Bob Glidden, not John Force. The fans didn’t relate to a Funny Car for Ford, they related to Bob Glidden.
“The Ford fans love Pro Stock cars and Super Stock cars because you can identify with them. You can’t identify with the cars which Force races. He’s so good for the sport and we all love him. But for this particular thing, the Pro Stock cars are like the cars we buy and you buy.”
Morgan can use the manufacturer’s help in two ways, with technical support and financial support. In recent years, the Pro Stock class has been flooded with multi-car teams, most recently when defending champion Allen Johnson brought four-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. into the fold of his Greeneville-based team.
“It’s tough to go against all that money,” Morgan said. “Allen took Jeg on to throw more money into the program. If you have that second car, and you can use the money on the program, you can move forward.”
For Morgan, it’s been tough to move his Mustang forward. Although Morgan finished 10th in last season’s point standings, he advanced past the quarterfinals just once all year.
Through the first nine races of this season, he’s 12th in the points, failing to advance past the first round at any event. An obvious problem with the Mustang body is partially to blame.
.“We’re trying to make the Ford car better,” he said. “The engine is good, but the car isn’t good right now. The wing right now is two and a half inches higher than a Camaro. We’re at a little disadvantage, but we’re working on all that.”
Still, the plan remains to run the entire NHRA schedule this season or at least as Morgan joked until he runs out of money. Sometimes, the time and effort hardly seems worth it, but the veteran of 26 years and over 550 races keeps plugging away.
“I’ve done it so long,” he said. “I love the people and I love to do this. I want to quit sometimes, but my wife keeps me going. She’s like, ‘We’re not going to quit when we’re doing this bad.’ We enjoy doing it. We just can’t handle the part of not having enough money to be competitive. That’s hard.”