Atlanta Red-light sends Don Lampus packing

ATLANTA (May 7) – For the first time in a long time, ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. surrendered a race to his opponent at the starting line when he jumped the light too soon and was disqualified. The infraction dismissed...

ATLANTA (May 7) – For the first time in a long time, ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. surrendered a race to his opponent at the starting line when he jumped the light too soon and was disqualified. The infraction dismissed the rookie pro from Dallas in the first round of the 20th annual Advance Auto Parts NHRA Southern Nationals and sent the top-10 ExpressAutoParts.com team home early.

It had been 160 rounds of professional competition since Lampus last drew the ‘Big Red Eye,’ an impressive streak by anyone’s standards. On this day the pain of the miscue was amplified when his first-round opponent Doug Kalitta broke a throttle cable during his run and coasted through the timers in 6.022 seconds. Certainly, the higher qualified Kalitta was there for the taking.

“Needless to say I’m really disappointed,” Lampus said. “I feel like I let the whole team down. It’s just one of those things you have to shrug off. The guys were serenading me with the song Roxanne when they came to get me. You know the verse, ‘Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.’

“I was so motivated today, much more so than any other race day this year. Maybe I just got too up for the race. I really wanted to make a move up in the points and let these guys out here know that ExpressAutoParts.com team is for real.”

Instead, Lampus slipped one spot in the Winston championship points standings from ninth to 10th place by a mere two points, a deficit he plans on erasing at the NHRA’s next stop in Englishtown, N.J.

“We need to step it up for E-town because it’s right there in ExpressAutoParts.com’s backyard,” Lampus said. “I learned something today and I think I’m a better driver for it. I need to just relax a little and take my time when I’m in the car. I don’t want to loose another race because of driver error.

“It’s a bummer to go backwards in the points when your whole focus is on moving up. But all that does is motivate us to get after it in Englishtown. We have a weekend off so the guys can recharge with their families and everyone should be in a great frame of mind by the time the race starts. We’ll be ready to show off in front of out sponsors.”

The elimination rounds of the 20th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals will be broadcast today from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT) on TNN. They will be rebroadcast at midnight.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Don Lampus