Denver, Colorado (July 23, 2016) - In baseball, sometimes one good inning is all a team needs to get a victory and start a long winning streak.
Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton hopes Saturday's final qualifying session was that one good inning his Morgan Lucas Racing team needed.
After struggling with parts issues in the first three qualifying sessions, Crampton ripped off a pass of 3.813 seconds at 310.27 mph to snare the No. 3 spot for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway.
"Yeah, it felt good to make a full pull and dump the chutes in Q4," Crampton said. "I knew the thing was running pretty good; it felt like our old race car again. It definitely felt good to get down there and shuffle our way up the list like we did to No. 3."
Crampton came into the Denver race ninth in the Top Fuel standings, though he is winless in 2016 after winning five races last year. Crew chief Aaron Brooks and the Lucas Oil team continue to work hard to shake off the doldrums of a tough season, and Saturday's Q4 pass showed Crampton and the team can get it done.
"The boys have been chipping away at it," Crampton said. "Aaron's made some changes and every round we've been getting closer and closer. I think we just showed in Q4 where we need to be. That gives him something real good to look at for tomorrow as well."
In Denver, Crampton has not been victimized by the tire smoke that has plagued the team this season. Instead, pistons had been the team's bugaboo until the final qualifying session.
Crampton will square off against No. 14 qualifier Bill Litton, whose best pass was 4.606 at 196.36 mph.
"Even though it's probably going to be a lot hotter when we run tomorrow, we still needed to get a full pull under our belt and look at the fuel curve and look at the parts after four runs," Crampton said. "That was what we needed and that's going to help us a lot tomorrow."
Top Fuel eliminations start at 11 a.m., Sunday, and will be broadcast live on FOX from 1 to 4 p.m. (All times listed in MDT).