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Richie Crampton makes big move up Top Fuel standings with second win of 2019

15 Sep 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Richie Crampton

Richie Crampton surged to fifth place with his second win of the season at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil. 

He defeated Kalitta Motorsports teammate Doug Kalitta to move up four spots in one weekend, a phenomenal performance by the back-to-back Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals winner. Kalitta took over the Top Fuel points lead for the second time this season, but his teammate will go back to Michigan with the Wally.

"I'm so lucky to be a part of this team," said Crampton. "It's a shame to race Doug in a final like that, but it's a great day for the whole team. This is the business time of the year, we keep talking about how important this time of year is and how important the points are. Connie Kalitta is one of my heroes and it's such a big deal that I get to drive for him and he tuned us to a great win today. I probably don't deserve to win based on the way I've been driving, but man, hat's off to my team."

The Top Fuel standings were immediately shaken up when defending champion Steve Torrence lost in the first round to Clay Millican. Kalitta quickly took over first place, while Brittany Force surged to second place. Force experienced a fuel leak in the semifinals opposite Crampton, which kept her from competing for a spot in the final after qualifying No. 1 for the third-straight race. 

Force also reset the national record during a banner weekend for the Advance Auto Parts team. The fuel leak knocked the team out of commission early, but crew chief David Grubnic and can look forward to another title fight. Force is 33 points behind Kalitta with five races to go in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. 

Austin Prock also reached the semifinals, but the Auto Club Road to the Future award candidate fell to Kalitta after running a 4.015. He got past Leah Pritchett in a pedalfest in the second round and cut three reaction times in the .050s en route to a big points day for the Montana Brand Top Fuel dragster team. Prock leaves Reading in seventh place.  

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour moves to St. Louis for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals on Sept. 27-29.