Pomona: Don Lampus finals report

Lampus locks down No. 6 spot in points POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Top Fuel driver Don Lampus won't leave Pomona Raceway with a trophy but the 37-year-old from Dallas still has a broad smile on his face. Lampus piloted his Mothers Against Drunk...

Lampus locks down No. 6 spot in points

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Top Fuel driver Don Lampus won't leave Pomona Raceway with a trophy but the 37-year-old from Dallas still has a broad smile on his face. Lampus piloted his Mothers Against Drunk Driving hot rod to a quarterfinal finish at the season-opening 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals. The strong start places Lampus firmly in the Top 10 of the POWERade Championship points standings in sixth place.

Lampus' race day started with an exciting win over Doug Herbert. After spotting Herbert a miniscule .015-second head start, Lampus quickly reeled in his foe and passed him to take a 4.665-second, 315.56-mph win. The pass was steady enough to earn Lampus lane choice over quarterfinal opponent Larry Dixon, the 2001 series runner-up.

With a capacity crowd looking on, Lampus and crew were ready to secure a semifinal berth. But when the lights flashed, Lampus' machine immediately shook its tires, forcing him to pedal the accelerator in an effort to regain control. By the time he accomplished that Dixon was long gone, posting a steady but beatable 4.708 at 318.77 mph.

"We ran as well as we could," Lampus said. "We hadn't tested coming into this race and we managed to figure out the new tires in qualifying. By Round 4 we were up to a competitive speed and we ended up having two 4.6-second laps in a row.

"The thing that got us today was lack of funding, certainly not lack of effort. We're short-handed and running on a limited budget so we didn't have time to seat the clutch between rounds. If we could have done that we would have had a real good shot at beating Larry. Wayne [Dupuy, crew chief] obviously has a tune-up that can get from A-to-B in under 4.70 seconds, which is what Larry ran that time. It's a little disappointing for everyone on this team to be tripped up like this.

"Still, all things considered, we accomplished what we set out to do. We won a round on Sunday, we're in the Top 10 of the points, we showed we can run with the best teams, and we got a bunch of exposure for MADD, American Racing Wheels, and Matco Tools, who have been a big help to us so far. We have a bunch of great tools; we just need a few more crewmen to use them. It's all about funding at this point. We're proud of this program and the MADD message needs to be spread. We just need some additional funding to get it done."

Primetime elimination coverage of the 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals runs from 5-7 p.m., today, on ESPN. The eliminations will be rebroadcast from 3-5 a.m., Monday, Feb. 11, on ESPN, and again from 4-6 a.m., Friday, Feb. 15, on ESPN2. Times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Don Lampus