Richie Cramtpon reached the quarter finals and Steve Harker progressed to the semi finals at the NHRA Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this past weekend.



Top Fuel

Despite making his quickest run of the weekend, Richie Crampton was eliminated by seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher in the second round of action at Sunday’s NHRA Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. 

Crampton had quicker numbers to every incremental marker down the track before posting a 3.771 at 289.20 mph, but a forgettable reaction time and downtrack engine problems allowed Schumacher to take the win with a 3.732 at 325.85 mph. 

“I was off and the car was off; that spells disaster in most cases,” Crampton said. “I’m not sure why but the car was also not going straight. We’ll have to look into that as well. This was just an odd weekend with the weather and all, and so many people were having problems but we offer no excuses; we just didn’t perform well.”

In the opening session, Crampton used a .070-second reaction-time advantage to power away to an early lead over Smax Smith, but early engine issues and a good dose of tire shake forced Crampton to get on and off the throttle to keep his car moving down the track. In the end, Smith had more issues and lost to Crampton’s 4.454 at 268.12 mph. 

“The car dropped a cylinder right at the hit, plus it was rattling the tires pretty good there, so the car drove left,” he said. “I stayed on it hoping we’d drive through the shake, but I got to a point where I couldn’t see any more, so I lifted and realized we were very close to the wall. I steered it back over and stabbed the gas again and just kept racing. I didn’t see the other guy, so it was all about getting to the finish line.

“Against Tony, we finally started running better, but I was late at the tree and we once again had some engine issues dowtrack, so we couldn’t really keep up the fight.”

The series takes a break next weekend and returns to action Oct. 16-18 at Texas Motorplex near Dallas. 

“We need this time to regroup,” said Crampton, a four-time winner this year. “Everyone needs a day off and then we need to get prepped for the stretch run. There’s still time to earn another win and we want to change the tone of the playoffs also, so we’ll make sure we’re ready to go by the time we get to Texas.”

The good news out of the weekend was that Crampton moved up two spots in the world rankings to fifth overall.


Top Alcohol

Steve Harker qualified in third position with a 5.690 at 254.81 mph in the one and only session setting up a first round meeting with DJ Cox Jr. 

Cox started well with a superior reaction time but carried the front wheels before getting loose when the front end returned to earth. Harker on the other hand put down a perfectly straight line through the groove on a 5.645 at 250.97 mph for the win. 

Round 2 was much the same as Harker drove straight down the groove on a 5.608 at 251.95 mph against John Headley who never really got going. 

Unfortunately for Harker it ended in tyre shake at the semi final stage against John Lombardo Jr. Over the first 60 feet it looked as though Harker was heading to another final but the tyres had other ideas and the 2014 NHRA Top Alcohol Champion had to back off the throttle.