Reading, Pennsylvania (September 26, 2016) - Fresh off one of his best outings of the NHRA Drag Racing season -- a semifinal run at Sunday's race in St. Louis -- Lucas Oil Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton is revved up and ready for another big weekend at the upcoming 32nd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals, which begins Friday at Maple Grove Raceway.
"I'm really excited to get to Reading because I get to strap into one of the few race cars on the planet that can dip into the 3.6-second range when we're at a good racetrack like Maple Grove," Crampton said. "And this time through it's really exciting because we just ran really well on a hot and slick track in St. Louis, so I can only imagine what we'll do with better weather conditions.
"Reading can be the quickest racetrack on the circuit if the conditions are just right, and the last several times through there we've all been flying. Aaron (Brooks, crew chief) seems to excel when the weather cools off, so this weekend will be right in his wheelhouse."
Crampton, the No. 1 qualifier in St. Louis, managed to jump up two spots in the Mello Yello points standings with his strong race day effort at Gateway Motorsports Park. He's now just two rounds out of the top five, a deficit he hopes to erase in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country.
"Whenever your car's running strong and you go to a place where world record numbers could be run, that fires you up as a driver," Crampton said. "A lot of times fans ask if we can tell the difference between a 3.8-second pass and a 3.7-second pass, and believe me, you really can.
"After making hundreds of passes, you do start to pick out millions of little things that happen, and the sensation of the car really hooking up hard and pulling you down the track in a little more than three and a half seconds definitely feels special."
Currently racing in his third year as a driver, Crampton, who hails from Adelaide, South Australia, has rung up seven national event wins in his short time behind the wheel. However, none of those victories occurred this season, another thing he'd like to change before the year is over.
"When the rounds started clicking off in St. Louis, I think we all got that feeling like we were back into our winning groove," he said. "I felt good behind the wheel (leaving ahead of all three of his opponents), Aaron made some great tuning calls for the conditions, and the guys, as always, gave me a great car.
"If we have that same combination again in Reading, I like our chances to break through and finish this year strong."
Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2 and 5 p.m., Friday, and 12 and 3:30 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will broadcast qualifying action live from 6 to 7 p.m., Friday. Eliminations will air live from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday. (All times listed in ET).