AUSTRALIAN Top Fuel drag racer, Richie Crampton has returned to the winner’s circle in the United States, taking out his third career victory at the prestigious NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas.
The Adelaide-born Crampton defeated three-time NHRA champion Larry Dixon in the final round with a 3.90-second pass at 301.33 mph (484.94 km/h) in his Lucas Oil dragster.
Crampton was the number five qualifier, and defeated Troy Buff and Steve Torrence on his way to the final with Dixon.
Crampton, 34, said the win in just the fifth race of the season was a big moment for him and his Lucas Oil-backed Morgan Lucas Racing team.
“It’s huge. Obviously, we want to win right out of the gate but that hasn’t always been the case for MLR,” Crampton said.
“To win at the fifth event and go to the final at the [recent] Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte shows we’re gathering some good momentum and it’s a huge boost for our entire team. We’ve got a great hot track race car.”
Crampton said his journey from Australia to first become a crew-member, then driving for one of the sport’s most competitive teams was like a dream come true.
“This is like a 6,000-mile hole-in-one for me,” Crampton said.
The win puts Crampton equal with the only other Australian to win in NHRA Top Fuel, Queensland-born Dave Grubnic, who has retired from active driving.
Crampton broke through for his maiden win at Englishtown, New Jersey, in his rookie year last year before going on to claim the world’s biggest and most prestigious drag racing event, the 60th Anniversary Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis in September.
He was presented the coveted NHRA Road to the Future Award, which recognises the sport’s rising stars, and was also recently crowned American motorsport’s Rookie of the Year by the esteemed RACER Magazine.
Crampton has now moved to fifth in the NHRA Mello Yello Championship points, with the next event the O’Reilly Auto Parts Nationals in Houston, Texas from 24 – 26 April.