Australian Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton has scored his fifth victory of the season in his Lucas Oil dragster, taking out points leader Antron Brown in the process to run his career record in final rounds to a perfect 7-0.
“It’s hard to even fathom getting to seven final rounds in the short time I’ve been a professional driver let alone winning them all,” the second-year pro said. “I’m just so fortunate that when you give my team so many shots at a race track on a given day that they get it figured out. I’ve reached a point where I’ve got a huge amount of confidence going into final rounds now.”
Resplendent in his cowboy hat — the traditional gift to winner’s at the Texas Motorplex – Crampton admitted he’s grown quite fond of Texas in his four professional journeys to the Lone Star State, although this was his first win there.
“I think Texans and Australians are very similar in their independent spirit and work ethic,” Crampton said. “And the landscape is the same, with the heat and all that. It feels very natural here and the fans are always welcoming.
“I’ve never even tried on a cowboy hat before but I sure like this one. I might just have to wear it the next time I go back to Oz. That’ll show ’em something. It’s really kind of special for (track owner) Billy Meyer to give us these hats and this year with it being the 30th annual race, we got belt buckles as well. Plus, I’ll have a brick with my name on it in the winner’s circle. There’s lots to be excited about.”
Crampton will have a footnote in the track’s history books as he opened the day with the quickest Top Fuel pass ever carded at Texas Motorplex.
“You know, when everything functions correctly, like in the first round when it ran 3.705, for the record, it’s a breeze to drive these things,” he said. “But it fought us from the second round onward. We had some clutch controller issues so that’s where my Lucas Oil team really earned their paycheck today. Man, we fought that race car all day long and things went our way so these are the kind of race days that are really rewarding.”
In order, Crampton beat Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force, Brown and Steve Torrence in the final. The money round was a thriller with Crampton pedalling the car to regain control when it hazed the tires mid-run.
“You know, I felt super confident going into the finals and with that comes success normally,” Crampton said. “There was no second guessing; we just went out there and tried to get the win. No ones going to give it to you, you gotta go out there and earn it. I’m pleased I was able to drive us to the win there.”
With the victory, Crampton jumped up two spots to third in the Mello Yello rankings.