Denver, Colorado (July 20, 2016) - Australian Richie Crampton may be in his third season driving the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, but he has been with the Morgan Lucas Racing team for much longer than that, so Crampton has dealt with the peaks and valleys of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing before, and he knows the struggles the team is experiencing are likely to break soon, perhaps in the Mopar Mile-High Nationals this weekend at Bandimere Speedway.
"For me as a driver, even though we haven't put a lot of runs on the board, it's still a huge amount of fun to get to go run a Top Fuel car for a living," Crampton said. "I'm always having fun and am focusing in trying to do my job inside the car. I know the performance is coming.
"My team is well-seasoned, and we've all been through some peaks and valleys as a group since 2007 when I started working with most of these guys. The morale never really gets down, and we've just got to work hard and continue to do what we do and the results will follow. We know the caliber of team we are, and from that point of view, they just keep digging, and we all know we're going to come out of the other side of this when the business end of the year comes around looking all right."
Crampton, a seven-time winner in his young career, has yet to break into the winner's circle in 2016, but like all professional teams that go through slumps, he knows the way to break out of it is to stay positive and keep pushing forward.
"I know deep down that it is only a matter of time until (crew chief) Aaron Brooks, (assistant crew chief) Rod Centorbi, and this entire Lucas Oil team puts one of our MLR cars back in the winner's circle," Crampton said. "It's a top-notch team, and we're just working through the valley right now. We'll be back on top again soon."
Denver would be a terrific race to break through, especially considering this race will be the first in NHRA history to be televised live on a national broadcast channel.
"It's huge for our NHRA Mello Yello series to be on the FOX network live from Denver," Crampton said. "That kind of a setting is one you want to do well in. If you can come away with the trophy at something as big as our first FOX network broadcast, that's something pretty special. We're geared up for it."
Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5:30 and 8 p.m., Friday, and 4:30 and 7 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 6 to 7 p.m., Friday, and 9 to 10 p.m., Saturday. FOX will carry eliminations live from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in MDT).