Latest News

Crampton takes fast, consistent GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to eliminations


LAS VEGAS (March 29) - Not only was GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton all smiles after qualifying No. 6 for the NHRA Nationals on Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he had a bit of swagger in his step.

Why? Because the rookie made three solid passes in qualifying, backing up his top pass of 3.798 seconds at 319.90 mph.

"Making three fairly solid runs in qualifying was good," Crampton said. "It always gives you more confidence going into Sunday with some good runs under you belt."

Crampton will square off against No. 11 qualifier J.R. Todd, who stepped into the Team Kalitta dragster on Saturday to replace David Grubnic. Todd's best pass was 3.841 seconds at 310.20 mph.

"I'm pretty excited to run out there tomorrow," Crampton said. "I know the weather's going to be a little cooler, so I think we can run a little better than we did today and hope to go some rounds."

Crampton will compete in his fourth career race Sunday, but he has been around NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing enough to understand that consistency pays off on race days.

In addition to his best run, Crampton had passes of 3.861 seconds at 314.17 mph in Q3 and 3.815 seconds at 320.13 mph in Q4. Both runs were in the top seven in the competitive Top Fuel class.

"Having a consistent race car makes it easier for (crew chief) Aaron (Brooks) to tweak on it here and there and try to speed it up each run and do what we've got to do to win rounds," Crampton said. "There are so many cars running so good here this weekend. We're all bunched up at the top of the pack so tightly that it's definitely going to take a consistent, fast race car to win the race tomorrow."

Crampton, too, knows he'll have to be fast and consistent at the Christmas Tree.

"I'm pretty confident with what Aaron's got going on here," Crampton said. "I know this GEICO team will give me great race car to drive, so I need to do my job and try to go some rounds."

Final eliminations for the NHRA Nationals start at noon PST Sunday. ESPN2 will air eliminations at 8 p.m. EDT.