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Past U.S. Nationals winner  Richie Crampton ready to fly at Indy

Indianapolis, Indiana (August 30, 2016) - Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton has plenty of confidence heading to the U.S. Nationals this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

For starters, the U.S. Nationals is considered one of the top races of the season, so Crampton will be especially juiced to race. Then consider that Crampton is a U.S. Nationals champion, having won the race in 2014 as a rookie.

Also, his Morgan Lucas Racing team is based in Brownsburg, Ind., less than four miles from Lucas Oil Raceway. Finally, Crampton is coming off a stellar test at Lucas Oil Raceway last week, where he made a pass under the track record.

"It's definitely the biggest race of the year," Crampton said. "It's a hometown race for us, with a hometown feel there at Lucas Oil Raceway, just around the corner from our shop. We'll have a lot of guests and a lot of important people who will join us for the weekend.

"It's extremely prestigious, and everyone tries that little bit harder and digs that little bit deeper. The excitement is already building."

Crampton knew of the U.S. Nationals as a youngster growing up in Adelaide, Australia, dreaming of racing in NHRA. He got the chance in 2014 when team owner Morgan Lucas stepped away from full-time competition. Crampton won twice that season, including his triumphant U.S. Nationals victory.

"Having won in 2014 as a rookie, I can still look back at that and know that we have the ability to win the biggest drag race in the world," Crampton said. "Morgan won it in 2015, so we have a lot of confidence at MLR."

Lucas did make it two in a row for MLR at Indy last year when he won the race, and Crampton showed last week the team hopes to make it three straight. His pass of 3.676 seconds at 323.58 mph during testing was the quickest of the Top Fuel cars and also under Shawn Langdon's four-year-old record of 3.740 seconds.

"We ran some outstanding numbers during our pre-U.S. Nationals test session," Crampton said. "It helps the confidence and it gave Aaron a lot of information for the race car and the track. All things are pointing toward another exciting and, hopefully, very successful weekend at Indy."

Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 8 p.m., Friday; 4:15 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday; and 12:45 and 4:55 p.m., Sunday. Eliminations start at 11 a.m., Monday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m., Sunday. Eliminations will air live Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on FOX Sports 1 and from 1 to 4 p.m. on FOX. (All TV times listed in ET).

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