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2014 NHRA: With No 5 Spot In Hand, Geico/Lucas Oil's Crampton Ready For Eliminations
Posted by: newsla on Jul 27, 2014 - 02:20 PM
2014 NHRA: With No 5 Spot In Hand, Geico/Lucas Oil's Crampton Ready For Eliminations

With his best qualifying effort in the last four races, GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton is ready for a long day at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway.


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Crampton's pass of 3.799 seconds at 324.05 mph put him in the No. 5 spot, his best position since Epping, N.H. That day, Crampton raced to the semifinals, a performance he'd like to repeat -- and then some.

"I'm always confident with Aaron Brooks and this entire GEICO team putting together a fantastic race car," Crampton said. "It's great to be in the top half of the field. That obviously adds to the confidence. I think we should have a successful race day tomorrow."

Crampton lines up against Mike Salinas in the first round of eliminations. Salinas qualified No. 12 with a lap of 3.905 seconds at 287.96 mph.

The leading contender for the NHRA rookie of the year award, Crampton took advantage of the best weather conditions of the weekend in the second qualifying session. The 3.799-second pass could have been faster, but Brooks wanted to make sure Crampton got down the track in Q2.

"Q2 was a pretty decent run," Crampton said. "I know Aaron wanted to try to run a little better than a .799, but we all knew how important it was to get solidly in the field on Friday night, preferably in the top half to have lane choice on race day.

"With the possibility of it being so hot today, that pretty conservative but good .79 run on Friday night was just what we needed."

Crampton and Brooks battled hot track conditions in the other qualifying sessions, with solid early numbers in each run, though they didn't always translate into a full run.

"We're just trying to work through it," Crampton said. "Every run, we're making it further toward the finish line. That's just one of the things you have to deal with when you're racing on the hottest racetrack we've seen this season.

"We're definitely headed in the right direction, and we've got a lot of good information from today to work off of for tomorrow."

Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m., Sunday. ESPN2 will carry all elimination action.

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