Longtime Pro Stock owner-driver Larry Morgan is elbow-deep in engines these days – Pro Stock Motorcycle motors.
He said he has no interest in returning to the Pro Stock class but would entertain a return to the intriguing and uber-competitive Pro Mod class: “If I race a car, it will be with Jim Whitley in Pro Mod.”
Morgan this year has headed the engine program for Team Liberty, working for Cory Reed and parents Jim and Annie Whiteley on the bikes that Reed, Angelle Sampey, and Joey Gladstone ride.
He said he and Jim Whiteley, who is presenting sponsor of the Pro Modified class with his J&A Service company, have discussed the possibility: “Oh yeah, we talk. He would give me something right now, and I told him that until these bikes run real fast all the time, I’m not doing it. I don’t have nothing to prove out here. I do love to race, and I love to help him, because I don’t know a better person than that guy, and I mean that. He does so much for motorsports. He’s like Forrest Lucas. I mean, he’s that type of a person. I’ve been lucky in my time to be hooked up with both of them, to be honest.”
His big objection right now is “I want these bikes to run good. I’ve got a freaking gun to my head right now with Cory’s bike. That thing’s 20 pounds heavy, and you know what 20 pounds heavy on a bike is? I got on the computer – you ever do the calculation with Wallace calculator? They do all kinds of [measurements]. [It shows] 625 pounds at 400 horse, a bike should run 6.76, 199.63, OK? I’m responsible for this, right? The 400 horsepower, right – 6.76, almost 200. Now when I add Cory on the bike, 645 pounds at 400 horsepower only runs an .83. That’s staggering. That’s seven-hundredths slower with the same power.
“The class is lopsided is what I’m getting at. They need to have, like every class, a number that is achievable,” Morgan said. “Cory, he only weighs 140-some pounds. He’d have to weigh 120 pounds. He can’t get to 120 pounds. I don’t want him to lose weight, so we’ve got to spend a lot of money, build a real, real lightweight bike. Angelle is perfect. She’s a perfect size and does a perfect job, and that’s why she runs good most of the time. She was the second-quickest bike the last race. We came here and worked on it, we tried different injectors and stuff like that, but it’s still the same engine. How easy it is to get screwed up. You remember when she had that run a couple races she didn’t qualify? Well she was like No. 19 or 21 qualifier, and then went to the next race and was No. 2 the next pass? Well, guess what – the motor was never out of the frame rails. How about that? That’s how screwed up you can get. Because these things are so light, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to get it right. See, let’s just say, like my car, my Pro Stock car when it weighed 2360 pounds, or 2370 because I’m a big boy, I was 20 pounds heavy. I was two-hundredths. The same thing on a bike is seven-hundredths. And that’s hard to realize that. I thought it’d be a couple, two- or three-hundredths. I thought I can deal with that. I can’t deal with seven-hundredths. So that’s what we’re up against.”
Performance doesn’t come in big increments, he said.
“You can’t find that much. When I [started] this deal with Jim, he was breaking three motors an event. I mean, they were blowing stuff up like no tomorrow. Jim asked me to do some heads for him. I went over and looked, and I go, ‘Jim I can do heads, but I’m going to hurt you.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘I’m going to be honest with you, I probably won’t take it. They’re not going to be ready for you.’ So he said to me, ‘Would you be interested in doing the rest of it?’ I go, ‘I’ll do it.’ I gave him a number. He said, ‘I want you do to it.’ This is what I told him: ‘I’m not going to do anything but fix it so they’re not blowing up every race.’ Knock on wood, we haven’t blown one engine up. They were blowing three up an event. He spent $60,000 a race to get them fixed.”
Reed, who took his bike back over at the NHRA Toyota Nationals in the wake of Joey Gladstone’s freak injury a week ago, missed the field. So did Karen Stoffer, Katie Sullivan, Freddie Camarena, Anthony Vanetti, and Maurice Allen.
In the past, Morgan has helped the Lucas Oil Buell team of Hector Arana and his sons. “I’ve done Hector stuff forever,” he said. “When they went 200 [mph, at Gainesville in March], they come over and thanked me. They said, ‘It wouldn’t have happened without you.’ I said, ‘I know that.’”