Seatle, Washington (August 6, 2016) - The second-round finish wasn't what Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton wanted, but the third-year pro at least knows he has a potent race car.
Crampton raced to the final at Sonoma Raceway a week ago and followed that up with a pair of stellar runs in eliminations at the 29th annual Protect The Harvest.com NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil on Sunday at Pacific Raceways.
"Obviously, we all want to go to final rounds and win races, but we know that's coming," Crampton said. "The Lucas Oil guys have busted their butt all year and haven't gotten down, especially through some lean times, and now we've got our fast hot rod back."
Crampton showed that in a first-round victory over No. 7 qualifier Doug Kalitta with a run of 3.696 seconds at 322.88 mph. That was low of the round and Crampton's best run of the season. It overcame Kalitta's pass of 3.755 seconds at 323.27 mph.
Then, Crampton made a run of 3.706 seconds at 314.24 mph, slowing ever so slightly at the top end as the engine began dropping cylinders. But Crampton ran into a buzz saw in Steve Torrence, the No. 2 qualifier. Torrence blistered the track with a pass of 3.699 seconds at 328.06 mph.
"Steve-O and that team has been running great this year, and we knew it would be a tall order to get around him, but my guys were up to the challenge," Crampton said. "To run 3.70 with some holes out shows you how fast we were, and maybe had we made it all the way down, we could have been right there, but that's not the way it went this time."
The round-win kept Crampton firmly in the eighth spot in the Top Fuel standings with two races remaining before the Countdown to the Championship. Only the top 10 will race for the title in the Countdown.
"We'll head off to the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.), where we ran pretty well last year," Crampton said of the next race, where he is the defending champion. "I'm confident we can run well again this year, too."