Australian drag racing star Richie Crampton has claimed his fourth Top Fuel victory of the year, winning the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minnesota and topping off a perfect weekend.
Crampton defeated Brittany Force in the final with the quickest pass of his career, his 3.695 second pass also the third quickest in history.
The Lucas Oil Dragster pilot took out the #1 qualifier spot and remained untouchable as he progressed through to the finals, defeating teammate Morgan Lucas, Larry Dixon and Shawn Langdon in the process.
“This race is going to go down in the history books,” Crampton said.
“It was just some amazing racing today and there were some super-fast race cars out there. I keep forgetting that I ran a (3.69) in the final, because winning the event is so important.
“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of Morgan Lucas Racing and to have such a great crew behind me. I’ve been working with them for a long time, so this means a lot to all of us.”
The win comes two years to the day since Crampton earned his Top Fuel drag racing license, and was witnessed by his parents Alan and June, who flew out from Australia.
“When your family lives on the other side of the world and you’re over here pursuing your own dreams, it’s pretty special to have them with you in the winner’s circle,” he said.
“Dad saw me take out my first race in Englishtown, New Jersey, last year, so it was great to have him here to see me claim another ‘Wally’.”
The victory moves Crampton to third in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Drag Racing Series points heading into the biggest drag racing event in the world, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals – which will be held at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, in two weeks.
Crampton is the reigning U.S. Nationals Champion and has his sights set on becoming the first repeat winner in more than five years.
“As the reigning U.S. Nationals champion, I’ve got a lot to live up to,” Crampton said.
“Winning today is perfect for our momentum to go to defend the Nationals title. It’s been a little rocky the last few races, but this has put as back where we need to be.”
In other news, Wayne Newby made his NHRA debut for Rapisarda Autosport International qualifing 14th with a 4.011 at 257.04 mph. Unfortunately wheel spin ended Newby’s run before it really got started in Round 1 against Doug Kalitta, clicking it off early on a 5.323 at 137.54 mph.
Top Alcohol Funny Car
NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car champion Steve Harker topped qualifying with a 5.565 at 262.54 mph to earn a solo pass in Round 1. Harker ran the car to the eighth-mile, then the chutes came out.
In Round 2 Harker had the elapsed time but was late at the tree going out on a holeshot when Shane Westerfield reacted in .018 seconds to Harker’s .119 RT.
The Queensland ex-pat closed the gap all the way, running low ET of the event, but ran out of racetrack for a tough defeat; 5.574 at 261.17 mph to 5.528 at 264.60 mph.
Image: Mark Rebilas