Kalitta Motorsports has announced Richie Crampton will return to the team and run for the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Championship in the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster.
“It is an absolute honor to get the opportunity to race for Connie Kalitta in 2018,” said Crampton. “I cannot thank Connie, Jim O and the entire Kalitta organisation for giving me a shot this year and helping to turn this into a full season in 2018. This is something I had always wanted, but never thought was possible. It is pretty amazing to be a driver for Connie Kalitta and I am forever grateful.”
Despite having less than 80 career starts, Crampton has accomplished much in his time behind the wheel. The 2014 NHRA Auto Club Road to the Future honoree has seven wins including a U.S. Nationals trophy. The native Australian’s late season addition to Kalitta Motorsports as the driver of the SealMaster Toyota Top Fuel Dragster was seamless as Crampton scored a final round appearance in just his second race with the team in Charlotte. The Australian-born Crampton now resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Stephanie, and daughter, Emma, with a son on the way in early 2018.
“We are really excited to have Richie full-time as part of Team Kalitta. I know Connie is very excited to have Richie drive his car next season,” said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “He did a great job coming into a tough situation this year and he jumped right in. We are hoping that trend continues with this full-time opportunity. We cannot wait to see what the 2018 season will hold for this team.”
Crampton’s Toyota Top Fuel dragster will be tuned by NHRA’s only Lifetime Achievement honoree, Connie Kalitta, and Rob Flynn. Despite starting four less races than the majority of the field, the duo guided Shawn Langdon to a Countdown to the Championship spot and final round appearances in Dallas and Pomona.
Crampton will run all 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing schedule. Kalitta Motorsports will announce sponsorship partnerships at a later date.