Pomona: Lampus set for tenuous start in MADD rail

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 5) -- Don Lampus is nervous about the season-opening 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals. Not because it'll be his first time in his 325-mph Top Fuel dragster since early November. Rather, it's the circumstances...

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 5) -- Don Lampus is nervous about the season-opening 42nd annual K&N Filters Winternationals. Not because it'll be his first time in his 325-mph Top Fuel dragster since early November. Rather, it's the circumstances surrounding his Mothers Against Drunk Driving race team.

Lampus signed a marketing agreement with the 20-year-old non-profit organization in the off-season that called for the formation of an alcohol awareness program to be aimed at drag racing fans across the country. The program has received rave reviews in corporate boardrooms but so far no high-level sponsors have climbed on board.

"It's a little disappointing because everyone we've made our presentation to has absolutely loved the program and expressed a desire to get involved," Lampus said. "But, with the economy being slow at the moment, we just haven't found a company that's ready to make a move and get involved right now.

"We're still working around the clock on this project. There was some money left in the team coffers so we'll be racing in Pomona and Phoenix for sure. Hopefully, that buys us a little more time to line up the funding we need to continue forward."

In preparation for the 2002 season, Lampus ran the last three events of 2001. With a limited budget, he managed to qualify for all three events and log three elimination-round wins, including a semifinal showing in Las Vegas. Now, with crew chief Wayne Dupuy still making the tuning calls, Lampus hopes for similar success.

"If anyone can pull off two solid weekends of drag racing with a small budget it's Wayne-o," Lampus said. "We'll try to qualify without blowing anything up and then race as hard as we can on Sunday. I don't think it will hurt our sponsorship hunt if we're in the top 10 of the POWERade points coming out of Phoenix."

Both ESPN and ESPN2 will carry portions of the Winternationals. Qualifying highlights air from 4:30-6 p.m., Saturday, on ESPN, and continue from 6-7 p.m., Saturday, on ESPN2. Primetime elimination coverage runs from 5-7 p.m., Sunday, 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.

-dlr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Don Lampus