Sometimes in drag racing you're in the right place at the right time. Other times, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton found himself in both positions at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway.
Crampton, the third-year pro from Adelaide, Australia, won a first-round match despite a not-so-stellar run, then the seven-time NHRA winner made a solid pass in the second round but lost.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Crampton said. “Sometimes you need a little luck to get a round-win, and sometimes no matter how hard you try you can’t get any luck. We were fortunate to get a win in E1, but then J.R. (Todd) just outran us in the next round. On to the next one.”
Crampton made a stellar run in the final qualifying session to snare the No. 3 qualifying spot, and that put him up against Top Fuel neophyte Bill Litton in the first round. Crampton lost a cylinder early in his run and dropped another as he closed in on the finish line, but the Morgan Lucas Racing dragster got the win light with a pass of 4.113 seconds at 280.37 mph. Crampton was well ahead on the starting line (.084-second reaction time to .346) and beat Litton’s pass of 4.178 seconds at 280.49 mph.
“We’ll take it,” Crampton said. “The way 2016 has gone for us this year, we’ll take any win we can get.”
Todd had lane choice for the second round, but both cars made terrific runs. Todd was a tick better on what was a quick Christmas Tree (.085 to .095), and then both cars were within two-hundredths of a second at the finish line.
Todd got the win with a pass of 3.841 seconds at 322.11 mph while Crampton was just behind with a 3.862 at 312.57 mph.
“We had a chance there, for sure,” Crampton said. “As a driver, you want to do your job and help your team out, especially since J.R. left the door open a little bit. But we made a decent run there, as we did Saturday night in qualifying. That does give us some momentum heading to Sonoma (Calif.).”
Crampton and the Lucas Oil team race at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals next weekend at Sonoma Raceway.
Image credit: Geiger Media Global