BRISTOL, Tenn. — Richie Crampton may be only nine races into his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel career, but the driver of the 10,000-horsepower GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster is already creating a lifetime of memories.
Just two weeks after the birth of his first child, Crampton became the 100th different driver to win in Top Fuel, knocking off points leader Doug Kalitta in the final round at the most recent NHRA event in Englishtown, N.J. The magnitude of it all is still overwhelming for the Australia native, but to say Crampton has enjoyed himself would be a vast understatement.
“My head is still spinning a little bit and my feet haven’t really touched the ground,” Crampton said. “It’s truly been an amazing two weeks for me.”
Crampton is ready to extend those good feelings even longer and gets his next chance this weekend at the 14th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event.
It is the 10th of 24 events during the 2014 NHRA season and Crampton is already in the mix of competing for a championship driving for the Morgan Lucas Racing team in his rookie campaign. He made a major move at Englishtown, qualifying a season-best No. 2 with a 3.750 at 326.95 mph.
He took out defending world champion Shawn Langdon in the semifinals before edging out Kalitta in a thrilling final round at Englishtown. That set off a memorable celebration that started with team owner Morgan Lucas, who stepped away from full-time driving duties in 2014 and handed the reigns over to Crampton.