When Morgan Lucas returns to zMAX Dragway for the NHRA Carolina Nationals Sept. 12-14, he'll fondly remember winning the event last year. And while he hopes to take home another Wally, the now part-time racer said his approach to this year's event will be much different.

After a career-best season in 2013 that included two wins and a fourth place overall finish in the NHRA Top Fuel standings, Lucas decided to step away from the sport he loved and spend more time focused on family.

"This is something I've loved doing since I was a kid," Lucas said. "I wasn't ready to give it up cold turkey. But I was ready to focus on the family business and focus on my family. This was the way to make it work for everybody."

Looking back, Lucas said he remembers thinking the win at the NHRA Carolina Nationals could have been the final victory of his career, and how special it was to get a win at zMAX Dragway.

"There are two racing Meccas in the country - Indianapolis and Charlotte," he said. "Maybe not everybody realizes that in the motorsports world, but when you work in motorsports, that is how you look at it. That win propelled us in the points. It helped us to a career-best finish last year. It was huge for us.

"At that point I knew what my plan was for the future and I thought, 'man, this could be my last win ever.' It was one of those things I just wanted to soak it in and remember it forever. When you look back at special wins, that's definitely one of them."

Lucas' limited action in 2014 is scheduled to include three races in the NHRA's six-race Countdown. As a part-time driver, he isn't eligible for the season-long championship, so his goals this season are a little different.

"When you look at most part-time teams, they're not getting as many cracks at the tracks as the other guys," Lucas said. "We focus on making sure we look good and present a respectable program.

"I'd love to come back and win in Charlotte. I drive with the intention of winning all the time. I think the main goal in the Countdown is to go out and help our team car progress and finish as high in the points as they can."

Fans can enjoy all of the weekend action with a three-day pass to the NHRA Carolina Nationals, with packages starting at just $99. Children 13 and younger will receive free general admission with a paid adult all weekend.

NHRA Carolina Nationals qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 12, with pro sessions scheduled at 3:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions scheduled to take place Saturday, Sept. 13, at 2:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14.

To purchase tickets, call zMAX Dragway at 800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.zMAXdragway.com. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway.