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Jun 30, 2014 - 07:02 AM
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2014 NHRA: Crampton's Luck Runs Out In Quarterfinal Round At Chicago
Posted by: newsla on Jun 30, 2014 - 06:55 AM
NHRA
2014 NHRA: Crampton's Luck Runs Out In Quarterfinal Round At Chicago


Drag racing luck can change in a moment's time, and on Sunday at the 17th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel pro Richie Crampton experienced the best and worst of it all.

 

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Crampton won an unlikely first-round race despite a mechanical malfunction that quieted his 8,000-horsepower motor well before the finish line. He then had a chance to take out past world champion Antron Brown but came up short after an exciting pedaling contest in the quarterfinals.

"We fully expected to run another fast pass in Round 1 and the car was marching along but it suddenly broke an intake valve," Crampton said. "That caused the motor to backfire, which initiates the safety system, so the parachutes popped out and we were just coasting along, completely dead in the water.

"I fully expected (opponent T.J.) Zizzo to go whizzing by but he didn't. Those few extra seconds it took to get to the finish line seemed like forever. You just expect that your opponent may have smoked the tires but then see that you're in trouble and get back on the gas to beat you. Fortunately, he had bigger problems and luck went our way."

Eventually, Crampton crossed the timers in 7.147 seconds at 68.90 mph, which yielded lane choice to Brown in the next round. In his race, Brown had posted a competitive 3.803 at 319.07 mph in taking his victory.

"Not having lane choice proved to be a big issue," Crampton said. "We didn't get down the right lane in qualifying and most of the nitro cars that were winning were in the left lane, so we had to push the car extra hard.

"Sure enough, the tires started breaking loose just a little bit into the run but I saw Antron smoking his tires just ahead of us, so I got on the gas again. The car just wouldn't calm down. I was on and off the gas four times, but he managed to pedal his car and get it to hook up a moment sooner. That was all it took."

Officially, Brown carded a winning 4.813 at 221.85 mph to Crampton's 5.899 at 175.16 mph.

"What's exciting is we have a great hot-weather tune-up now and summer is just starting," Crampton said. "We've all been working hard to get this car to perform in the heat, and when we won in Englishtown (N.J.) a few weeks ago the track temp was 126 degrees when we went up for the final. That's pretty awesome."

The team won't have long to wait until racing again as the NHRA tour turns to Norwalk, Ohio, for next weekend's event at Summit Motorsports Park.


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