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May 14, 2014 - 02:57 PM
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2014 NHRA: Upcoming Birth Of First Child Has GEICO's Crampton On His Toes
Posted by: newsla on May 14, 2014 - 02:50 PM
2014 NHRA: Upcoming Birth Of First Child Has GEICO's Crampton On His Toes

GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton and his cell phone will be attached at the hip during this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.


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That's because in addition to his regular driving duties, Crampton will be eagerly awaiting word on girlfriend Stephanie Laski, who is due to deliver the couple's first child later this month.

"I'll absolutely be keeping my phone on me at all times," Crampton said. "Any day now, our little baby girl could be here. It's going to be a unique situation. I'm going to be paying close attention to what's going on at home, but there's a pretty big task at hand, and that's trying to win some rounds in Atlanta and get our way out of that ninth position in points."

Laski is not due until May 26, the Monday after the race in Topeka, but if the couple's baby girl isn't born this weekend, doctors will induce labor after the Atlanta race.

"The doctors agreed to induce the day after I get home from Atlanta," Crampton said. "She will be delivered by Tuesday after Atlanta."

Crampton, the leading rookie-of-the-year contender in Top Fuel, is nervous and excited about becoming a father for the first time.

"It's a very exciting step for Stephanie and I to become parents," Crampton said. "But I'm also fairly nervous about having a baby to care for. I think it's going to be a lot of fun but definitely a life-changing moment for us."

Another life-changing moment would be winning his first NHRA race, a goal Crampton has had since growing up in Adelaide, Australia. Atlanta Dragway was the site of team owner Morgan Lucas' first victory, and Crampton would love to duplicate the feat.

"Atlanta was the place where Morgan won his first race, so it's definitely got a soft spot in our heart," Crampton said. "If I could get my first win in Atlanta also, that would be kind of neat.

"We have our heads down and have been working hard to make sure we can control everything we can to get our good race car back."

Crampton is ninth in the Top Fuel standings but is hopeful of moving up the points this weekend.

"I'm pretty excited to race in Atlanta," Crampton said. "We definitely need a get-healthy weekend for the GEICO team."

Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5 and 7:15 p.m., Friday, and 1:15 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will carry qualifying highlights from 6-8 p.m., Saturday, and elimination action from 9 p.m.-midnight, Sunday.

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