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2014 NHRA: Crampton Snares Provisional No 1 For First Time In Short Career
Posted by: newsla on Apr 26, 2014 - 03:22 PM
2014 NHRA: Crampton Snares Provisional No 1 For First Time In Short Career

The wait was worth it for GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton.

Crampton made a strong pass early in the second qualifying session on Friday, recording a 3.807 at 322.11 mph. He then had to wait out a long delay while the NHRA Safety Safari cleaned the track before the Top Fuel session ended, but 45 minutes and four cars later, Crampton still had the provisional No. 1 spot for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals.


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"That was a long time waiting to hear how that final two pairs of race cars were going to fare," Crampton said. "I was really hoping that we could hang on to that No. 1 spot, and it worked out in our favor."

Crampton didn't figure his pass would hold up because temperatures were dropping as the night wore on.

"That was one of the things that we were talking about back in the pit area," Crampton said. "The track was getting better and better and the weather was getting better. That .807 could have not held up but fortunately it did. It's a good day for GEICO and Lucas Oil."

The 33-year-old from Adelaide, Australia, is in his first full season behind the wheel of the Morgan Lucas Racing dragster. After working as a crewmember since the team's inception, Crampton was offered the ride when team owner Morgan Lucas stepped away from full-time competition. Should the No. 1 hold up, it will be the first of Crampton's short career.

"It's still surreal for me to get to do this, let alone sit on the pole here," Crampton said. "It's a tribute to (crew chief) Aaron Brooks and this GEICO team. We've been working hard this season and haven't quite qualified the way we would like to, so to get in the No. 1 spot tonight was a payoff for all their hard work."

Crampton's best-prior qualifying spot was No. 3 in Gainesville, Fla. He has qualified in the top half in two of his six races this season, winning one round in Pomona.

"We all know the potential that Aaron Brooks and this team have to run well, especially when the weather is cooler," Crampton said. "There wasn't one particular thing that made me think we were going to be No. 1, but it was definitely something I was hoping for."

Now, Crampton hopes to stay atop the highly competitive Top Fuel class, which has two more qualifying sessions slated for Saturday, but those will be run during the day, when conditions could be worse.

"Obviously, we want to stay No. 1," Crampton said. "If it's hot, that's good. We need to learn how to race well in hot weather also. We don't want to stay No. 1 by default.

"If it's a hot track tomorrow and doesn't give anyone a chance to run, that's just fine with me."

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