U.S. Nationals winner one of six nominees.
U.S. Nationals winner Richie Crampton is one of six nominees for Racer magazine's Rookie of the Year as part of its 20th annual Racer of the Year awards.
The Road to the Future Award recipient as NHRA's top rookie, Crampton won two races in his first season driving the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster for Morgan Lucas Racing.
Voting opened this week online for the magazine's 20th annual Racer of the Year competition. Readers can vote in six categories through Jan. 12, 2015, with the final results announced in the spring 2015 issue and on www.racer.com. Crampton was the only driver among the six nominees to win in his class in 2014.
Australian pursing American dream
Crampton, 34, is a native of Adelaide, Australia, who moved to the United States 10 years ago to pursue his dream of driving a Top Fuel dragster. He worked as a mechanic for MLR for several years, and when Morgan Lucas decided to step away from driving full-time, Crampton was tapped as his replacement.
Crampton won his first race in Englishtown, N.J., winning one round on three tires after one of his front tires went flat during his burnout. He secured the event victory by beating points leader Doug Kalitta in the final and became the 100th different winner in Top Fuel history.
Crampton's second victory came at the prestigious U.S. Nationals. He beat Billy Torrence, defending Top Fuel champion Shawn Langdon, nine-time U.S. Nationals champion Tony Schumacher, and good friend Steve Torrence en route to the win.
Crampton later became the only rookie in Top Fuel to advance to the Countdown to the Championship.