Don Lampus lovin'' life among drag racing''s elite

LAS VEGAS (March 29) -- The ExpressAutoParts.com Racing team of Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. will roar into Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 6-9 for the Inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals. The group is brimming with confidence after powering...

LAS VEGAS (March 29) -- The ExpressAutoParts.com Racing team of Top Fuel driver Don Lampus Jr. will roar into Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 6-9 for the Inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals. The group is brimming with confidence after powering into the top 10 of the Winston points standings at the NHRA tour's last stop in Florida.

Lampus, a 35-year-old from Dallas who is the current IHRA Top Fuel champion, is hoping that a strong outing in the City of Entertainment will move his team further up the points standings while also bolstering his NHRA Rookie of the Year campaign.

"We don't even know what it's like to be a top 10 team yet," Lampus said. "It'll be so cool to roll into the track in Vegas and park this ExpressAutoParts.com rig on the front row with the other top 10 teams. I guess that's when it'll sink in for the crew and I."

A former champion in the wild world of off-road racing, Lampus is also excited about the prospect of racing down The Strip, the NHRA's newest quarter mile. For the first time in his brief career, Lampus will enter a track with the same amount of data as his peers.

"No one has an edge here," Lampus said. "Still, I must not be very bright because as fast as technology changes these cars every year, I just don't see how a bunch of past data can help that much. Maybe it's because I'm new. I know we went in blind to every IHRA track last year and we walked away with the championship."

With four wins in five final-round appearances a year ago on the IHRA tour, Lampus has proven that he knows how to find the Winner's Circle. But he has yet to prove it to the best drivers in the world on the NHRA circuit, a job he can't wait to accomplish.

"I'd love to move this ExpressAutoParts.com team off the 'bump' of the top 10 and up the standings a few more spots," Lampus said. "And I think we can do that in Vegas. We stayed an extra day in Gainesville to test and, without revealing too much, I think we found the consistency we need to be a steady 4.6-second car. When you're running that fast you're within a few ticks of the leaders and then it basically comes down to driving.

"The Greater Las Vegas area is like a second home to me. My folks have a place in Boulder City and I spend a lot of time there. The crew has also told me that we're unveiling our newest motor 'Maxine, the Drag Queen' so we should be rocking."

Same-day elimination round coverage of the Inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals will be aired from 10:30 p.m. to midnight (ET and PT), Sunday, April 9, on TNN.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Don Lampus