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Jul 28, 2014 - 07:00 AM
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2014 NHRA: Crampton Flashes Driving Skills In Semifinal Showing At Sonoma
Posted by: newsla on Jul 28, 2014 - 06:57 AM
2014 NHRA: Crampton Flashes Driving Skills In Semifinal Showing At Sonoma

Rookie of the Year candidate Richie Crampton turned in one of his best outings of the season Sunday with a semifinal showing at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. It's the Australian's second semifinal result of 2014, bettered only by his victory last month in Englishtown, N.J.


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"The GEICO team did a fantastic job again today," Crampton said. "We're still not having the very best race day luck that I know we would like to have, but nonetheless it was a good outing for us again.

"I really feel like we've turned a corner here. It's getting-down-to-business time in the season, so it's a good time to start making some strong Sunday runs and winning as many rounds as we can."

After taking an easy win over local racer Mike Salinas in Round 1 when Salinas fouled out at the starting line, Crampton began showing off his blossoming driving skills by outpedaling championship contender Spencer Massey to get to the finish line first, posting a smoke-filled 4.269 at 255.92 mph to Massey's 5.417 at 140.17 mph.

"Racing any of the cars from the DSR camp is always tough," Crampton said. "When you get in a situation where both cars are smoking the tires and it's a pedalfest, to come out the victor in that matchup is a pretty great feeling. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm definitely getting more and more comfortable with pedaling the race car and I'm having a lot of fun doing it. I was super-happy to win one for the team with my driving for once."

The win against Massey advanced the GEICO team to the semifinals, where Crampton blasted off the starting line with a massive .052-second reaction-time advantage over Khalid alBalooshi. Unfortunately, Crampton's hot rod began overpowering the racetrack near the top end and the slight hazing of his tires allowed alBalooshi to sneak by and take the win by .008-second, 4.066 at 271.73 mph to 4.126 at 267.37 mph.

"This being the hottest racetrack we have seen thus far made it a little challenging for (crew chief) Aaron Brooks," said Crampton, "but I think for sure we have made enough runs to know what to do now. We're on the right path to having a good hot-track race car."

The team won't have much downtime this week as they make the trip north to Seattle for next weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals.

"We're doing lots of pre-race media activities, so we'll have a chance to see the city, which is fun," Crampton said. "I didn't do much of that when I was a crewman, but now doing press conferences and such I have a bit more time for sightseeing before we get down to racing."

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