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2014 NHRA: Bizarre Circumstances Sink Crampton's Second-Round Chances In Seattle
Posted by: newsla on Aug 04, 2014 - 06:49 AM
2014 NHRA: Bizarre Circumstances Sink Crampton's Second-Round Chances In Seattle

A bizarre set of circumstances left GEICO/Lucas Oil driver Richie Crampton out of the groove -- and out of luck -- in the second round of the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals on Sunday at Pacific Raceways.


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While backing up after his burnout before a matchup with Antron Brown, the idle in the engine of his Morgan Lucas Racing Top Fuel dragster suddenly rose. As Crampton scrambled to get control, the steering wheel snapped around, and the car was unable to get in the correct location on the starting line.

"Something happened after the burnout that caused the idle to get hung up a little bit," Crampton said. "We were still backing up, and I had my hands full with holding the brake and trying to pull the throttle back to slow the idle down. I didn't have a great grip on the steering wheel, and it snatched it right out of my hand.

"From that point, we were completely out of sync, and we didn't get lined up in the tracks we had just laid down."

Tire rubber from the burnout helps Top Fuel cars get a good launch, but Crampton and the team weren't able to get the car aligned correctly. Crampton tweaked his left shoulder, too, but the real injury came when the car launched. The tires smoked almost immediately, and his 10.822-second run at 70.61 mph ended five consecutive full passes in Seattle.

Crampton qualified No. 4 with four quick passes over Friday and Saturday. Then in the first round Sunday, he made another solid run, 3.843 seconds at 317.27 mph, to take down Terry McMillen's 3.898 at 316.75 mph.

"Aaron (Brooks, crew chief) did a fantastic job," Crampton said. "That was our fifth straight run where we went down the racetrack. An .85 is pretty nice, and it was good to get that round-win against Terry. That shows how well this GEICO team has got this car running on a hot racetrack."

Crampton solidified his hold on a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, which begins after Indianapolis, with his first-round win and with early exits by drivers just ahead and behind him in the points standings.

"We were really wanting four round-wins today so we could climb our way up the ladder in that fashion," Crampton said. "However, we were fortunate enough that everyone surrounding us in points had bad luck or whatever to where we didn't get left behind this weekend.

"It's not over yet, but we're pretty confident we'll be in that top 10 for the Countdown."

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