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Feb 09, 2014 - 06:14 AM
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2014 NHRA: GEICO/Lucas Oil Rookie Crampton Takes Step Forward In Pomona
Posted by: newsla on Feb 09, 2014 - 06:13 AM
2014 NHRA: GEICO/Lucas Oil Rookie Crampton Takes Step Forward In Pomona

Richie Crampton and the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team took a giant step forward during Circle K NHRA Winternationals qualifying Saturday in Pomona.


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Crampton drove into the field with a pass of 3.821 seconds at 320.28 mph in Q3 and then improved in the final session with a run of 3.786 at 318.09 mph.

"Getting two good runs in today was definitely what I needed, and I think it's what the team needed also," Crampton said. "To run my first 3.70 pass this afternoon was also a huge accomplishment personally. It's just a tribute to (crew chief) Aaron Brooks and this entire GEICO team. This is a top-caliber team, and it's my absolute pleasure to get to drive this race car."

Crampton came into Saturday not in the field, as the GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster didn't get down the track in either of Friday's two sessions. But it wasn't because Crampton was nervous about the weekend; he was applying lessons taught by car owner Morgan Lucas to get comfortable in the car.

"Morgan has told me a lot about what to expect and what to be concerned about," Crampton said. "It already feels like it is becoming second nature to get into the race car and do a good job for our team and our sponsors.

"It was a huge step when GEICO, Toyota, and Lucas Oil agreed to back a rookie like myself. That's more of my concern, to do the right thing in the race car, and I know that it will reflect well for the team."

Crampton has been joined this weekend by his girlfriend Stephanie Laski, as well as his parents Alan and June Crampton, who flew from their home in Australia to be with their son. Laski is expecting the couple's first child, a girl, in late May, so this weekend also includes a baby shower.

Crampton will line up against Brittany Force for his first Top Fuel eliminations pass on Sunday; Force qualified No. 8 with a run of 3.778 seconds at 326.24 mph. He expects he could have some more butterflies Sunday, but the rookie is ready.

"There's a lot to be said for getting that lump in your throat when they play the national anthem and you're lining up for the first Top Fuel race of your life and your career," Crampton said. "Morgan has taught me well on how to run my own race in my own lane and the numbers will fall where they fall."

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