Deric Kramer earned his first win of 2019 at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals by defeating Erica Enders. His American Ethanol Pro Stock Chevy Camaro is better now than it was when he hoisted the Wally in Chicago. He has improved his NHRA Power Ranking standing by four spots over the past six Pro Stock events and currently sits just two points behind K.B. Racing teammate Bo Butner and five points behind leader Erica Enders.
That’s all while having a remarkably inconsistent car, at least for most of the season. So, what explains his climb up the rankings? Speed. His 6.566-second elapsed time average is quicker than everyone else in the category by a hundredth of a second (Greg Anderson, another K.B. Racing car, ranks second) – so when he gets down the track, he’s likely to outrun you. Kramer has also dramatically improved on the starting line in one key area: He doesn’t turn on the red light.
Kramer has always acquitted himself well in reaction time average (he leads the category by a thousandth of a second, .0273 to .0287 over Erica Enders) but he made mistakes. Removing mistakes has been the focus of Kramer ever since he decided to run a full-time schedule at the beginning of 2018. He ended up running a modified full-time schedule in his first year in a Camaro and the improvement was immediate. More consistent seat time has led to better results in the driver’s seat.
The Colorado native sits seventh in points and projects to finish in sixth based on his current NHRA Power Ranking and the small number of races remaining (five) before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. That would make battling for a championship difficult, but not impossible. He can make up more ground than that with a little good fortune given how tight the points currently sit. The point spread between third and eighth figures to be around 80 points – there’s plenty of room to make some magic happen.
If Kramer gets into the top five, and certainly into the top three, he becomes a favorite for the championship. Butner will get plenty of love as a former champion and the top seed, but never count out a car turning a corner with a driver cutting killer lights and making no mistakes. That’s exactly how Tanner Gray won his championship in 2018.
There’s still time for the Elite Motorsports cars to start converting on all the good luck they’ve got stored in Oklahoma. The results have not come for Enders nor Jeg Coughlin Jr. in 2019 but it remains likely they will before the season ends. If they don’t – well, there won’t be many complaints coming from the driver’s side of Kramer’s green Camaro.