Steve Harker won his first National event Wally of the year while Richie Crampton looks to be back in the groove following the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals in Chicago.

Top Alcohol Funny Car 

Steve Harker has won his first National NHRA event this season and his 11th career victory at the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals in Chicago at Route 66 Raceway. 

Racing against Kris Hool in the final, Harker had lane choice but got out of the groove veering close to the wall but he pulled the Speed City Funny Car around to steer away and preserve the race win with a 6.197 at 177.01 mph following a -.012 red light by Hool.

That victory came after round wins over Mickey Ferro, Ulf Leanders and Nick Januik. Harker qualified third for race day with a 5.526 ET.


Top Fuel

Richie Crampton and the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team are back to their normal fast selves, even though the results on Sunday don’t show it.

After failing to qualify for the race in Norwalk, Ohio, last weekend, the team made some adjustments to their Morgan Lucas Racing car, finding a minor issue in the process. Crampton made a solid qualifying effort in Chicago and then had a terrific pass in the first round, but it wasn’t enough to overcome No. 6 qualifier Dave Connolly.

“We’re still on the rebound from Norwalk and everything,” Crampton said. “Qualifying went well, but we just got beat. It was a good drag race for the fans.

“But we’re back to where we should be, so we’ll go to Denver and do the best we can and get back on track.”

Crampton is a three-time winner in 2015, and he was fourth in points in the ultra-competitive Top Fuel class heading to Chicago.

His first-round pass was 3.835 seconds at 320.58 mph while Connolly’s run was 3.810 seconds at 322.81 mph. Crampton and the team had to wait a few moments while Connolly’s Bob Vandergriff Racing team had trouble starting their car.

“I never heard his car start up next to me before the water box,” Crampton said. “I did my burnout, and then I was actually able to see on the big screen that they were still scrambling to get their car started. We gave them a little time they needed to get their stuff handled so they could get up there and race heads-up.

“It kept us waiting for a little longer than normal, but it really didn’t have any adverse affects or anything. It was just one of them deals. That BVR team is a class act, and they just beat us by a little bit this time.”

Crampton does have three wins over BVR driver Larry Dixon in 2015, all in the final round. Connolly is stellar on the Christmas Tree, but Crampton was right there with a .067-second reaction time.

“You always want to do better as a driver, but that was a fairly honest .067,” Crampton said. “We’ll keep chipping away at it and try and be like these veterans.”

Image: Harker Motorsports