DHL Top Fueler Richie Crampton Eager to Race for Top Fuel Title

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With the six-race Countdown to the Championship kicking off this weekend Richie Crampton and the DHL/Kalitta Air Top Fuel team are racing for a win and the chance to repeat history. The previous six Top Fuel winners at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway have gone on to win the Mello Yello championship. Winners have come from the No. 1 position to as deep in the Top Ten as the No. 6 position. For Crampton who starts the chase for his first Top Fuel world championship from the No. 9 spot the first race is one where he is looking to build some momentum.

“We just need to have a long Sunday,” said Crampton, the winner of the historic Gatornationals this season. “It has been a while since we have seen the kind of race day success we expect but the Countdown is a brand new season. This DHL Top Fuel team is ready and we spent some time after Indy getting ready for these last six races. I think it is anyone’s championship to win honestly. The first races are critical and I have a lot of confidence in my team.”

This is Crampton’s fourth run for a Top Fuel championship in the Countdown format. He made his first Countdown in 2014 and the following year started as the No. 3 driver at the end of the regular season. The young Australian Top Fuel racer finished right where he started as the third place finisher for the Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship, his best Top Fuel finish to date. Three seasons ago Crampton made the Countdown in the No. 9 spot and again held form finishing No. 9. Last season he narrowly missed a top ten finish slipping out of the playoffs at the U.S. Nationals. This season Crampton solidified his spot with a strong qualifying effort in Indy.

“It was a definite bummer to miss the Countdown last season,” said Crampton. “I wasn’t going to let that happened again. This team is too good. We are in the playoffs and we want to start moving up in the standings starting at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend.”

All four Team Kalitta race teams are battling for Mello Yello championships and the positive team mentality is something Crampton feels gives them all an advantage. Last year teammate J.R. Todd stormed through the Countdown for his first Funny Car world championship. Crampton thinks there are opportunities for the entire Team Kalitta organization to thrive.

“One of the main things we have going for us here at Team Kalitta is all the support we give each other and especially the support from our sponsors like TRD (Toyota Racing Development),” said Crampton. “We are constantly getting feedback and info for the teams and crew chiefs. I think it will really pay off in the Countdown. We are constantly pushing each other to get better as a group of drivers and I am really looking forward to seeing how far we can take this DHL Top Fuel dragster in the playoffs.”

2018 NHRA Maple Grove Highlights: Qual. No. 9; Lost to Doug Kalitta

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA U.S. Nationals): Qual. No. 5; Lost to Austin Prock

Quotable: Crampton on heading into Countdown: “It is a brand new season. We have some ground to make up but this DHL/Kalitta Air team is up to the task.”

Career Stats: 121 events, 120 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
Indianapolis: Qual. No. 5; Lost to Austin Prock

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