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Richie Crampton, Lucas Oil Top Fuel team step over the edge in Norwalk

NORWALK, Ohio (June 26) -- Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton suffered an upset loss in the opening round of the 10th annual Summit Racing Equipment NRA Nationals Sunday in Northwest Ohio when his Lucas Oil dragster overpowered the racetrack just off the starting line. Crampton tried to save the run, but his competitor was far enough down the track that she couldn't be caught, with the higher-ranked Crampton ultimately losing by a couple of tenths of a second.

"The car launched well but started rattling the tires," Crampton said. "It wasn't too severe and I stayed with it because I thought there was a chance we could drive through it. Then I felt the tires let go completely, so I whacked the throttle and it corrected itself and we started chasing the car in the other lane, but she was just too far gone.
"I'm absolutely gutted for the boys. It's been a long, hot weekend and they're out there busting their butts to get this car running well. We qualified great and really thought we were onto something good heading into today but it didn't work out. It's very tough to take, and I know the guys are as upset as I am."

Crampton had qualified fourth overall with a very impressive 3.735 at 317.79 mph, which made him the prohibitive favorite over Leah Pritchett, who made only one qualifying pass in the back-up car from the Lagana race camp. But she surprised everyone with a 3.884 at 318.17 mph against Crampton, which when combined with his troubled pass was enough to take the win against his 4.133 at 288.27 mph.

"The four races in a row we're just finishing now have been brutal for us," Crampton said. "It'll be nice to have a weekend off for the guys to get home and have a little downtime. Those extra days will also allow us to work on the car some more. We're getting better and our qualifying session here showed that, but obviously we have a ways to go." 

The Route 66 NHRA Nationals takes place July 8-10 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

"It's another race we can drive to, which is nice, and my parents will still be here visiting from Adelaide (South Australia), so hopefully we can show them some better results," Crampton said.


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Top Fuel driver Richie Crampton suffered an upset loss in the opening round of the Summit Racing Equipment NRA Nationals Sunday when his Lucas Oil dragster overpowered the racetrack.


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