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Jun 01, 2014 - 07:53 AM
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2014 NHRA: Personal-Best Run Equals Personal-Best Qualifying Effort For Crampton
Posted by: newsla on Jun 01, 2014 - 07:52 AM
2014 NHRA: Personal-Best Run Equals Personal-Best Qualifying Effort For Crampton

Rookie pilot Richie Crampton of the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster team used the fastest pass of his brief career to lock up the lofty No. 2 position on the elimination ladder at the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals.


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The young Australian streaked to a top speed of 326.95 mph during a stellar 3.750-second pass, good enough to push aside reigning world champion Shawn Langdon for second place on the grid. He trails only Doug Kalitta, who was a scant .002-second ahead in first.

"We feel as though we really turned a corner with the race car last weekend in Kansas and that just continued here in New Jersey," Crampton said. "What's crazy about drag racing is we're not doing anything different as far as work and effort, but suddenly all the little things are falling our way. We couldn't be happier.

"I'm very excited to be No. 2. The team is performing like it should have been all along, and I think having Morgan (Lucas, teammate and car owner) here in the second car really has been a big help. The data you get from a second car just helps so much, especially when it's set up just like our car. It's pretty cool to have him here."

Under the direction of Lucas, tuner Aaron Brooks is concentrating on making sure the cars get down the racetrack under full power every run. Between the two cars this weekend, seven of eight qualifying runs were completed with Crampton posting the three quickest with a 3.750, a 3.771, and a 3.794. Lucas has gone 3.823, 3.826, 3.833, and 3.835.

"That consistency will help both of us win rounds tomorrow," Crampton said. "The cars are getting to the finish line nearly every time and they're quick, so that's a great thing. To see Morgan make four runs, all in the low-4.8-second range, with a part-time team is pretty remarkable. It says a lot about what Aaron and the entire Morgan Lucas Racing team can do.

"My comfort level and confidence, both in myself and in the car, is on a big upswing. It's a great feeling now because we've struggled a bit this year and it's tough to take when you're a new driver. Now we're sitting here in Englishtown, No. 2 on the timing sheets, and I know we have a car capable of winning this race."

Qualifying highlights will air this evening beginning at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Eliminations start at 11 a.m., Sunday, and will be shown in slight tape-delay later Sunday afternoon.

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