Top Fuel Rookie Crampton Learning Quickly

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Richie Crampton during testing at Palm Beach (Fla.) Int'l Raceway. (GEICO photo)
Richie Crampton during testing at Palm Beach (Fla.) Int'l Raceway. (GEICO photo)
Richie Crampton during testing at Palm Beach (Fla.) Int’l Raceway. (GEICO photo)

BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Safely back at Morgan Lucas Racing headquarters, rookie Top Fuel pilot Richie Crampton had time to reflect on his first official test session as driver of the 8,000-horsepower GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.

“It was a test session I needed, for sure,” Crampton said. “It was a good opportunity for things to settle in for me and the team. I needed a chance to make some of the rookie mistakes I’m going to make, and I’m glad I had the luxury of doing that down there.”

Like many of the top teams in the sport, Crampton and the MLR crew headed south to West Palm Beach, Fla., last week for a lengthy preseason test in advance of the rapidly approaching 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, in Pomona, Calif.

“We had the luxury of making 24 runs while we were down there,” Crampton said. “That helped me get acclimated to driving in all types of scenarios: nighttime, daytime, heat, cold, and even with someone in the other lane, which I hadn’t done before.

“On top of everything going on with me being new, we had a number of crew guys shuffle positions as well, so we tried to do service work under race-day time constraints to get everyone used to their new jobs. It was a learning curve for everybody, and certainly no one was learning more than I was on every pass.”

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