Seatle, Washington (August 6, 2016) - Richie Crampton was on a scintillating pass in the final qualifying session for the 29th annual Protect The Harvest.com NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil on Saturday at Pacific Raceways when he felt something unusual from his Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster.
While on a pass that could have been a sub-3.7-second run, Crampton felt the tires beginning to smoke -- only, the tires weren't smoking.
As it turned out, a parachute was mistakenly beginning to blossom, negating what could have been a top-three pass.
"It was a very weird feeling," Crampton said. "I felt something, but I wasn't sure what it was because that's not something that's ever happened to me before. I knew it was hauling early, and it slowly started to drive up into tire smoke a little beyond half-track.
"I inevitably shut it off at 900 feet. Luckily it didn't do too much damage to the engine because that was just a weird mishap. I didn't know the chute had come out; I thought it just drove up into tire smoke and that was all I had."
Crampton's run was 3.744 seconds at 304.46 mph, good enough for the No. 10 qualifying spot, but he easily could have been No. 2 or No. 3.
"It was on pace with J.R. (Todd's ) .70, but our half-track numbers were down because the chutes were already deploying at that point," Crampton said. "A good run. We wish we knew what it was going to run because that would help for tomorrow, but all in all, that's OK. We've got a good race car to race with and we're not racing our teammate (Morgan Lucas), so that's a good thing." Crampton will line up against No. 7 qualifier Doug Kalitta, whose best run was 3.741 seconds at 323.81 mph. This weekend, Crampton has been part of the two-car Morgan Lucas Racing team, as owner/driver Morgan Lucas is racing in Seattle, too. "It's been good," Crampton said. "Morgan and I have both been making runs, giving (crew chief) Aaron (Brooks) two swings at it, so it's helpful for both cars. Everything seems to be hitting pretty good, and I think both of our teams have a pretty good outlook on tomorrow." Eliminations start at 11 a.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 5 to 6 p.m., Friday, and 11 to 12 p.m., Saturday. FOX will carry eliminations live from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in PT).