The best part about the NHRA New England Nationals this weekend at New England Dragway for Lucas Oil driver Richie Crampton is that the next race is only four days away.
Crampton fell in the first round of the rain-delayed race in New Hampshire, losing to Tony Schumacher after both cars smoked the tyres. It ended a forgettable race for the Morgan Lucas Racing team, as Crampton struggled throughout qualifying and on race day.
“You’ll have races like this sometimes no matter how hard you work or how smart of people you have,” Crampton said. “This just wasn’t our weekend, but, yeah, we get to race in a couple of days, so we have to put it behind us as quickly as we can.”
After the race was postponed a day because of steady rain on Sunday, fans and competitors were treated to a beautiful day Monday. Because of a 13-car ladder, Crampton, the No. 11 qualifier, lined up against No. 4 qualifier Tony Schumacher; normally, No. 11 races No. 7.
Crampton was first off the line against the eight-time Top Fuel champion with a stellar .058-second reaction time. Schumacher had a .066 light but made up the difference almost immediately as Crampton’s car smoked the tyres.
Crampton, a seven-time winner in Top Fuel, tried to pedal the car but smoked the tyres again down track and could only watch as Schumacher took the win light.
“I tried my best to pull the brake handle and get it settled down,” Crampton said. “I got back in it, saw Tony had some problems, but it wouldn’t hook up. It’s frustrating to watch your opponent pull away like that, but I did everything I could.”
Crampton and his team return to work later this week when they race at the 47th annual NHRA Summernationals this weekend at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Crampton scored his first career victory at that race in 2014, his rookie season.
“I know our guys will keep their heads held high, and we’ll be ready to go in Englishtown,” Crampton said. “We’ve got a great group here, so I know we’ll turn it around there. I look forward to going back to where I got my first win, too. Should be a much better weekend.”
Image credit: Mark Rebilas