Rookie Top Fuel Driver Don Lampus Makes Second NHRA Appearance DALLAS, TX (Nov. 9, 1998)-- Just over three weeks ago, Dallas-native Don Lampus, 34, made his NHRA Top Fuel debut at the Revell Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, but if you...
Rookie Top Fuel Driver Don Lampus Makes Second NHRA Appearance
DALLAS, TX (Nov. 9, 1998)-- Just over three weeks ago, Dallas-native Don Lampus, 34, made his NHRA Top Fuel debut at the Revell Nationals at the Texas Motorplex, but if you blinked your eyes, you may have missed it. Unfortunately other racing obligations forced Lampus to miss Saturday qualifying and a chance to race Sunday.
With one event behind him, Lampus plans a full fledge NHRA debut this time, traveling west for the season ending NHRA Winston Finals, Nov. 12-15 at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.
If the name Don Lampus isn't a familiar one, don't worry, he's new to drag racing. Having never driven a drag racing vehicle in his life, Lampus made his Top Fuel debut in July at an IHRA event in Cordova, Ill. In his first ride down the track, Lampus recorded a 4-second elapsed time and his drag racing career was launched. He qualified in the final five IHRA national events, netting him a top five finish in that series' points standings. He also set an IHRA national record at 307.37 MPH.
Lampus had planned to make a full fledged NHRA debut three weeks ago at his home track, the Texas Motorplex near Ennis, TX, but a scheduling conflict only allowed him to make two qualifying attempts on Friday. On those passes, he recorded elapsed times of 4.76 and a career best 4.75 to get him into the show. Saturday he was bumped from the quickest Top Fuel field in NHRA history because he had to complete an IHRA race in Shreveport, La., where he earned a runner-up finish to Doug Herbert.
Said Lampus, "I received my Top Fuel license at Dallas, and it would have been great to have qualified at our home track. We made two strong passes, and I believe if we could have stayed for Saturday's qualifying sessions, we would have made the show. Taking a runner-up against Herbert in our first final round appearance certainly made the weekend special, and gives us plenty of motivation to come back here and try again next year."
With no scheduling problem this time, the Lampus Racing team heads west for the NHRA Winston Finals at the L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. There Lampus returns to familiar surroundings. After graduating from Penn State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering, Lampus moved to California and formed an off-road racing team with his father, Don Lampus,Sr. He placed third in points his first year, then moved into the SCORE class 1-2, 1600 (tube frame, VW powered buggy) the following year. He won the Class Championship in 1996 and was awarded the Toyota Milestone Award, presented to only 2 out of the 50 drivers that finished all 2,600 plus miles of the grueling SCORE season. This time the 2,600 miles are reduced to just a quarter of a mile, covered in four-seconds by a 6,000 horsepower, nitromethane fueled dragster.
On his return to California, Lampus commented, "I'm really looking forward to competing at Pomona, this will be my first drag race on the West coast. Instead of dust and dirt, this time I'll be headed down a straight, paved track with good visibility. From this driver's seat, that's a great change of view."
Quick Facts - Lampus Racing Top Fuel Dragster
Best Elapsed Time: 4.752 Best Mile-per-Hour: 309.38 Crew Chief: Mike McLaughlin The World Finals will be the team's second NHRA National Event. The crew, dubbed the "Traveling All Stars", are six men with racing credentials that include six world championships among them. Lampus Racing finished fifth in IHRA Top Fuel Championship points this year, competing in five of eight events.