Tue, 23 May 2000 15:06:46 -0500

Texas homecoming special for Lampus DALLAS (May 23) -- NHRA Rookie of the Year candidate Don Lampus Jr. of the ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel racing team has been waiting for this weekend for a long time. The fourth annual Castrol Nationals ...

Texas homecoming special for Lampus

DALLAS (May 23) -- NHRA Rookie of the Year candidate Don Lampus Jr. of the ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel racing team has been waiting for this weekend for a long time. The fourth annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts will be contested Thursday through Sunday at his hometown track, the all-concrete Texas Motorplex in Ennis, which is just a Sunday drive away from his home in nearby Allen.

"I finally get a chance to race at home," Lampus said. "I'm so excited about this race. First of all, I have a ton of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors that will be joining us at the track. I'm anxious to show them all what I really do for a living. Secondly, I feel like I know this track better than any other one on the NHRA circuit. It's where I earned my license when I first got started and I even took time to compete here last year when I was running in the IHRA. So even though I'm a rookie, I feel like I truly have a hometown edge here."

The 35-year-old Lampus won four of 10 races on the 1999 IHRA schedule and walked away with the world title. Yet he still found time to enter the fall NHRA event in Dallas, where he easily qualified with a 4.686-second pass at 310.77 mph before losing to race winner and eventual NHRA champion Tony Schumacher.

"Maybe we'll get a repeat of last year only this time I'll take the win instead of Tony," said Lampus, who also won a championship in the SCORE off-road series in 1996. "We're certainly more competitive than we were back then. The ExpressAutoParts.com team has given me a great car to drive at every race and we continue to gain ground on the frontrunners at every event. I expect that trend will continue here at home.

"I'm ready to get back in the car. We were pretty much rained out in Englishtown last weekend and we only had one run in the car, which ended up being a forgettable, 16-second, tire-smoking pass. It just seems like forever since I've felt the surge you get when you're going 320 mph. I'm ready to get that feeling again.

"The plan is for (crew chief) Mike McLaughlin to absolutely pound on this track. It's the only all-concrete surface we race on so you can tune the car very aggressively. It doesn't feel much different from my seat but I know Mike can tell the difference. He'll have a big smile on his face all weekend because he can pull out all the stops and really see what this dragster can do. Hopefully, that smile will still be there Sunday afternoon."

The elimination rounds of the fourth annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts will air from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT), Sunday on TNN.

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Series General
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Mike McLaughlin , Don Lampus
Tags DATE