Aussie Top Fuel hero Richie Crampton opens up after first win

This article brought to you by:


Richie Crampton made a little bit of history overnight, becoming the 100th different driver to win an NHRA Top Fuel event and the second Australian to take a pro win. Drag News Australia listened in on his post race media conference.

Speaking at his first presser, Crampton could have been forgiven for being lost in the moment as a lifelong ambition came true on a sunny afternoon in Englishtown, New Jersey. Indeed he has been through an amazing time of recent weeks, with the birth of his first daughter coming as well.

Crampton started his drag racing career way back in Adelaide, South Australia. Little did he know then that from that beginning would he be standing on the opposite side of the planet with an NHRA Wally in hand.

“I don’t know where to start, this is all surreal right now,” he said. “I’m just living the dream. I know that’s clichéd but I’m super lucky to be in the positive I am in with my personal life and my career.

“I grew up on the other side of the world watching people like Doug Kalitta on TV and reading about them in magazines. To get to race against people who were my heroes, it’s really hard to block that out and run your own race in your own lane.”

The slice of history as the 100th different NHRA Top Fuel winner was something Crampton was not even aware was up for grabs.

“It means a huge amount. I had no idea that someone could possibly be the 100th new winner in Top Fuel,” he said. “To think about how may great drivers there are on that particular list, it is a nice little cherry, icing on the cake.”

Crampton opened up about the nervousness of the days before he would be named as the driver of the Geico dragster, a car he had spent seven years doing clutch work on.

“It was one of them deals, it took a few days to figure out who was gonna get to replace Morgan (Lucas),” he said. “I had my fingers crossed that Geico and everyone would approve of me getting into the race car. There was some sleepless nights waiting to hear if I would get the deal or not.

“It’s an honour to be selected to drive after Morgan. It is big shoes to fill and a great car to drive.”

When asked about whether or not he was beginning to doubt himself after mixed results for the first part of the season, Crampton said he had to remember he was on a learning curve.

“We had a lot of bad luck and I still haven’t done the best job driving,” he said. “I’m still learning a lot. I was getting down on myself and wondering if we would ever be in this position right now.

“To finally get in the winners circle in only nine races, it’s relatively good for a rookie to get into the winner’s circle so soon. The car is a top five car and I didn’t want to be the guy holding that top five car down.

“(Crew chief) Aaron Brookes said good job buddy, enjoy it. Morgan said the same thing, enjoy it, hopefully this is the first of many. That was a great feeling to have both of those guys patting me on the back.”

The knowledge that the team qualified well might have assisted Crampton’s head space, even after a first round hiccup with a shredding front tyre.

“We were really confident after qualifying well here that we had a good race car for today,” he said. “When we lost that front tyre in the first round I thought someone was working against me here and I wouldn’t have the day I was hoping for.

“I just sat and thought about things (before the final). My reaction times aren’t what they should be, I didn’t want to get down on myself and start overthinking.

“It (the final) was a close race and hats off to that team (Doug Kalitta), that car is a bullet this year. At least it went A to B without the tyres falling off of it or anything silly.”


Aeroflow Performance Parts Catalogue

Drag News Magazine