'Back home' from being back homeThursday, March 13, 2014
Posted by: Richie Crampton, GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fueler

I'm finally back at home in Indy after a thrilling trip to Australia, and I even have some time to spare!
Man, it has been a whirlwind few weeks for me, and I must admit I’m loving every second.
Let's back up a bit. Obviously, Phoenix didn’t go the way this GEICO Lucas Oil team would have liked, losing to the eventual race winner, Antron Brown, in the first round. That prompted us to test on the Monday following the race, we made four runs and Aaron Brooks was able to work through our gremlins.
What made Monday an extremely long day for me was the fact that right after the last test run, I left the track and headed straight to the airport to begin my 20-something hour trip to my hometown of Adelaide, Australia, to attend the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar race. That trip required flying to Los Angeles, where I cleared customs, and then boarded a 14-hour flight to Melbourne, as there are no direct flights to Adelaide. Once I landed in Melbourne, I had a four-hour layover, then another short flight to my eventual destination.
One of the great things about returning home was that the Australian news media was very interested to talk to me and find out how I was settling into my new job as a Top Fuel driver. That prompted Fox Sports Australia to track me down, almost immediately after landing, and schedule an interview at my parents house that same afternoon. As you may imagine now jetlag was setting in and I was for sure looking forward to bed, although it was the middle of the day there. I fought through the sleepiness and things went well and I’m very fortunate that they took the time to do that interview as it gave some excellent exposure for NHRA and our sponsors, GEICO and Lucas Oil.
The next morning, after a good night's rest, I headed to the track, which is an awesome street course basically right in the central business district of Adelaide, to hook up with a bunch of our Australian Lucas Oil friends. I then got introduced to a lot of the people involved in racing and marketing over there that are related to Lucas in one way or the other. The brand is really exploding down there.
One of the highlights of the trip, was the fact that I had been selected to do a ride-along, hot lap with James Courtney, one of the best drivers in one of the top racecars in that series.  He definitely gave me a thrill ride. It wasn’t quite the same as driving a Top Fuel dragster, but it was pretty exciting. As an added bonus, James ended up winning the event. I'm sure it was because I brought him some good luck.
Being around family and friends I rarely get to see theses days also was pretty special, although I could only briefly catch up with everyone. It was also the end of summer in Australia, so the change of climate was nice too.
Traveling back to the states consisted of flying from Adelaide to Melbourne, followed by Melbourne to Los Angeles, and then Los Angeles to Indy. In total it took around 30 hours, and my sleep patterns are still a little out of wack.
Of course, with MLR fielding tow cars at the upcoming Gatornationals, there had been a lot going on at the shop while I was away. Everything seems to be coming together, and I cant wait to see Morgan back behind the wheel. Between trying to get back into work mode, and keep up my training with Jim Leo at PitFit, I haven't had much time to prepare for our baby girl due May 10, but that’s another story!
Now, I'm going to try and get some sleep. Please wish Morgan and I luck in Gainesville.