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Apr 28, 2014 - 06:08 AM
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2014 NHRA: Progress Being Made In Crampton's GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel Pit
Posted by: newsla on Apr 28, 2014 - 06:07 AM
2014 NHRA: Progress Being Made In Crampton's GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel Pit

Nobody promised rookie Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton that driving the 8,000-horsepower GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster would be easy, and through six races he has learned quickly that old adage is ringing true.


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Crampton had a decent weekend at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals in Baytown, Texas, earning the provisional pole in the nitro-fueled category for the first time in his brief career. But with temperatures remaining at 80-plus degrees, Crampton's race car became finicky, and although he made a solid run in a Round 1 matchup with Brittany Force, he had to accept his fifth first-round loss.

"This is starting to hurt," Crampton admitted. "I knew coming into the year that there would be growing pains with me being a rookie, but I also knew this has been a contending race team for several years in a row. I figured we'd be up to speed really quick.

"We had a great run Friday (3.807 seconds at 322.11 mph) and you get your hopes up and think, 'We're finally getting a handle on this thing,' but then you end up here Sunday afternoon wishing so much more had happened."

Crampton didn't surrender to Force without a fight. His Aaron Brooks-tuned hot rod peeled off a 3.813 at 323.74 mph to keep the daughter of drag racing legend John Force honest. Unfortunately, Force was a bit quicker with a 3.787 at 327.82 mph and turned on the win light by a car length.

"Having come up through the ranks as a crew guy I know how hard these guys are working over here," Crampton said. "We made progress at this race, for sure, and I want nothing more than to reward them for all of the extra work they're putting in with some wins. That's really what it's all about.

"I'm so thankful to have GEICO and Lucas Oil behind us. It's unreal to have been selected to drive this car and I need to be patient. It's just something inside you that drives you to want more. At the end of the day in this sport, only one team is really happy. Hopefully that's going to be us really soon."

Up next is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 16-18, at Atlanta Dragway.

"We've got a few weeks to regroup," Crampton added. "We'll be ready."

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