Columbus Engine Fireball Ends Don Lampus' Weekend

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 18) – A solid weekend of drag racing ended in a huge fireball for Top Fuel driver Don Lampus when his ExpressAutoParts.com dragster ignited a few hundred feet into his first-round race. Lampus and the car were mostly...

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 18) – A solid weekend of drag racing ended in a huge fireball for Top Fuel driver Don Lampus when his ExpressAutoParts.com dragster ignited a few hundred feet into his first-round race. Lampus and the car were mostly undamaged in the mishap, but he did squander a golden opportunity to beat legendary driver Kenny Bernstein.

“We shook the tires at about 100 feet and I was forced to pedal the car,” said Lampus, referring to his decision to lift off the accelerator to stop the tire shake. “When I lifted, something relaxed in the framework of the car and it threw the coupler right out the side. At that point, obviously, the drive shaft became disconnected and when I stepped on the gas again the engine spiked to 11,000 RPM because there was no resistance. That caused the blower to come off and the big fireball was just all the fuel burning off.

“We didn’t hurt anything in the motor and the only thing hurt on me is my feelings because we had a great chance to beat Kenny and win another round.”

Lampus had earned a huge five hundredths of a second advantage off the starting line in his race against Bernstein and was clearly ahead when he ran into trouble. Bernstein went on to post a lackluster 4.870-second pass at 297.09 mph to claim the win.

“He was there for the taking,” Lampus said. “We would have easily won with just a normal lap but that’s how it goes in drag racing. Sometimes you just need a little luck. We’re still working the bugs out with this new Brad Hadman chassis. The coupler problem we had today was actually the second one of the weekend so it’s something we need to re-engineer so that we can avoid this problem in the future.

“Overall, we’re happy to have qualified for our 11th race of the year. We have earned a spot in every race and that’s something all of us on the ExpressAutoParts.com team should be proud of. The guys did a fantastic job working through the weather delays and they gave me a good car to race. I continue to gain big amounts of confidence in this car and the team.”

Lampus qualified in the No. 10 position with a 4.740-second, 310.48-mph lap. He has successfully reached the elimination rounds of every national event on the 2000 NHRA schedule. Up next, the team heads to St. Louis for the fourth annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. The race starts this Thursday.

ESPN2 will broadcast semifinal and final-round action from 5-7 p.m. (ET) this evening. A rebroadcast of the elimination rounds will air later tonight from 9:30-11:30 p.m. (ET) and again from 2:30-3:30 a.m. (ET) on Friday, June 23.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Don Lampus