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Richie Crampton confident of getting back on winning course in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois (July 6, 2016) - Native Australian Richie Crampton, driver of the 10,000-horsepower Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, is hoping knowledge gained from a recent test session will change the winds of fortune in his favor at this weekend's running of the 19th annual K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Crampton, a seven-time Top Fuel winner, is not only looking forward to getting back to his team's winning ways, but he is also eager to go racing in front of a strong and boisterous contingent of friends, family, and extended family members at very speedy Route 66 Raceway. Crampton's previous event win came in Dallas last fall.

"Like other Midwest races that we go to, it's so close to home that it has good attendance to all of our family, friends, and Lucas Oil associates and distributors," Crampton said. "It's one you want to do well at, and that track is usually pretty impressive and has been a record-setting place when we raced in the spring or the fall."

Sitting No. 9 in championship points, Crampton is also looking for a win in Chicago to shore up his Countdown to the Championship chances. The Countdown serves as NHRA's six-event playoffs, where only the top 10 in points at the end of the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in September are eligible to hoist the season championship trophy.

"The clock is ticking, for sure," Crampton said. "We've made good strides to getting some momentum back. We tested in Indianapolis after our last race, and fortunately the conditions in testing were similar to what we think are going to be like in Chicago. We got some great information.

"The time is running out to get everything lined up and make a good run during the Western Swing (in Denver; Sonoma, Calif.; and Seattle) and the races before the Countdown starts."

Crampton has another reason he wants to get a notch in the win column in Chicago: Only one win-in spot remains for the $100,000 NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout, race within a race held during the U.S. Nationals.

"A national event win is obviously high on the priority list," Crampton said, "not only for securing that last spot in the Traxxas Shootout but also for the team's morale and for Lucas Oil and everyone who helps get us out there. We're definitely hungry to get back in the winner's circle."

Top Fuel qualifying sessions are scheduled for 6 and 8:30 p.m., Friday, and 4 and 6:45 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations start at noon, Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will carry qualifying action from 10 p.m. to midnight ET, Saturday and eliminations live beginning at 2 p.m., Sunday.

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