Richie Crampton Eager to Race for Second U.S. Nationals Title

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The NHRA U.S. Nationals this weekend will be a chance for Richie Crampton and the DHL Top Fuel team to show they are finishing the NHRA regular season on a high note. The team has a win at the historic Gatornationals as their season highlight and a win at the most prestigious drag race in the country would not only solidify the team’s position in the Mello Yello Top Ten but would immediately move them into Top Fuel championship contention.

“This will be a big weekend for sure,” said Crampton. “There will be a lot going on and I am looking forward to getting to the track. You have three days of qualifying so you want to get some momentum on Friday night with that first session.”

There are four teams fighting for the final two spots in the Top Fuel Top Ten. Heading into the weekend Crampton holds an 84 point lead over the team in 11th place in the Mello Yello point standings. With points and half on the line along with increased qualifying and bonus points Crampton is in a strong but not guaranteed position. Ideally, a solid qualifying effort and a first round victory will secure his position in the Top Ten.

“We are really just focusing on trying to win the U.S. Nationals,” said Crampton. “If we do that the Countdown points will take care of themselves. You get an extra qualifying session in Indy and there are more points on the line. I see that as an opportunity to separate ourselves and show what this team is capable of. These DHL guys have been working their tails off all season.”

Crampton already has one U.S. Nationals title to his credit. The young Australian took the win in 2014 when he outran Steve Torrence for the victory. It was an amazing day for Crampton and one that he feels like he is capable of repeating this weekend.

“You dream of winning the U.S. Nationals if you are a drag racer no matter what class you are racing,” said Crampton. “To win the biggest race of the season in Top Fuel and your name to a list that includes Connie Kalitta and Don Garlits is pretty cool. I think we have a race car that is capable of winning four rounds of racing on Monday. We just need to put it together and keep our focus.”

Since Crampton’s back to back win at the Gatornationals he has advanced to the semifinals at the NHRA New England Nationals and the quarterfinals at the national events in Chicago, Topeka, Denver and Sonoma. A consistent theme runs through those races for Crampton when you consider the driver that ended his race day at all five of those events has the last name of Torrence. Points leader Steve Torrence was the primary victor with father Billy Torrence edging out Crampton in Topeka.

“It does seem like we run into those Capco guys a lot in the second round,” said Crampton. “I think it is just one of those things that if we can qualify a little higher we can miss them. I will say that racing them makes everybody better. You know you have to be at the top of your game because they don’t make many mistakes. We had a couple shots at them and just didn’t capitalize. No matter who is in the other lane the name of the game is getting to that finish line stripe first. That will be our goal on Monday at the U.S. Nationals for sure.”

2018 NHRA U.S. Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 15; Lost to Clay Millican

Last Event Recap (2019  NHRA Brainerd Nationals): Qual. No. 11; Lost to Clay Millican

Quotable: Crampton on winning Indy: “Winning Indy was one of my first wins and I can remember it like yesterday. It happened so fast it seemed. It was an amazing day and I am looking for another win at the U.S. Nationals this weekend. I think this DHL/Kalitta Air team has what it takes to win Indy. We will have a ton of support from our family and friends for sure.”

Career Stats: 120 events, 119 starts, 99 round wins, 9 wins, 11 finals, 5 No. 1 qualifiers

2019 Season:
Winternationals: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Terry McMillen
Arizona Nationals: Qual. No. 15; Lost to Terry McMillen
Gatornationals: Qual. No. 12; WINNER, Beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett, TJ Zizzo and Clay Millican
Las Vegas1: Qual. No. 6; Beat Scott Palmer, Cameron Ferre; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force
Houston: Qual. No. 13; Lost to Clay Millican
Charlotte1: Qual. No. 12; Lost to Doug Kalitta and Leah Pritchett
Atlanta: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Scott Palmer
Richmond: Qual. No. 7; Lost to Austin Prock
Chicago: Qual. No. 11; Beat Austin Prock; Lost to Steve Torrence
Topeka: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Billy Torrence
Bristol: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Terry McMillen
Norwalk: Qual. No. 8; Lost to Billy Torrence
Epping: Qual. No. 2; Beat Audrey Worm, bye; Lost to Steve Torrence
Denver: Qual. No. 8; Beat Austin Prock; Lost to Steve Torrence
Sonoma: Qual. No. 7; Beat Terry McMillen; Lost to Steve Torrence
Seattle: Qual. No. 6; Lost to Antron Brown
Brainerd: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Clay Millican

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