Reading Win has Richie Crampton and DHL in Top Fuel Championship Mix

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Richie Crampton and the DHL dragster dramatically inserted themselves into the 2019 Top Fuel world championship conversation with a dominant performance at Maple Grove Raceway two weeks ago. In the opening race of the six race playoff Crampton defeated Dan Mercier, Antron Brown, Brittany Force and teammate Doug Kalitta to jump into the No. 5 position in the Mello Yello point standings. The young Australian is less than three rounds out of the points lead and has established his team as a group not to be overlooked.

“The win in Reading was big for this DHL team for sure,” said Crampton. “We have been battling through a tough stretch of first round losses on race day. No one ever gave up which shows the strength of the team Connie (Kalitta) and Kurt (Elliott) have put together.”

It had been fifteen races between wins for Crampton who started 2019 with a great victory at the historic Gatornationals. The ensuing stretch of the season showed flashes of greatness but the team could not get a foothold on the momentum they needed to string together another win. For Crampton that stretch only served to motivate the team and himself as the Countdown approached.

“After every race in the regular season I would look at my personal performance and see where I could have improved,” said Crampton. “I wasn’t being negative I just knew that every hurdle was a chance to get better. In Reading we ran well in qualifying and once we got the first round win I knew we had a really good race car. We had three really tough opponents the rest of the day and got some luck in the semis. You have to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities and we did.”

With five races left Crampton knows that there will be more attention on his DHL team. This is the young driver’s fourth run through the Countdown and he has already equaled his career Countdown win total. The rest of the playoff races have Crampton and his DHL team eager to get back on track.

“I am not going to get ahead of myself,” said Crampton. “We are one race into the Countdown and we are off to a good start. I am going to head into St. Louis looking to keep making quality runs. You need that data and if you can get four good runs on Friday and Saturday you will be set up really well on Sunday. It will be an exciting weekend for sure and I just hope at the end of the day on Sunday this DHL team will still be in the mix for the Mello Yello championship.”

2018 NHRA Midwest Nationals Highlights: Qual. No. 11; Lost to Tony Schumacher

Last Event Recap (2019 NHRA Reading Nationals): Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Dan Mercier, Antron Brown, Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta

Quotable: Crampton on winning first race of Countdown: “We started the Countdown exactly like we wanted to. We got the win in Reading and they really helped us in the points. We have a ways to go but I am ready to make up even more ground in St. Louis. I would love to be heading to the third race of the Countdown with me and Doug (Kalitta) at the top of the points.”

Career Stats: 122 events, 121 starts, 103 round wins, 10 wins, 12 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
Reading: Qual. No. 4; WINNER; Beat Dan Mercier, Antron Brown, Brittany Force and Doug Kalitta

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