Richmond; Small gains must suffice for Don Lampus, Jr.

RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) -- The ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel team of driver Don Lampus Jr. had a lot to be excited about this weekend at the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet. They ran their first two 4.6-second passes of...

RICHMOND, Va. (April 30) -- The ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel team of driver Don Lampus Jr. had a lot to be excited about this weekend at the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet. They ran their first two 4.6-second passes of the year and rode the impressive laps to their first ever top-half qualifying effort.

But the team's excitement was tempered somewhat by an uncharacteristic first-round loss on Race Day when the ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel dragster overpowered the track surface of Virginia Motorsports Park, thereby ending the day for Lampus with a huge cloud of smoke. Unable to find traction, Lampus could only watch as rival Doug Herbert sped away for the win.

"We're a little disappointed, but this was still a really good weekend for us," Lampus said. "We maintained our position in the top 10 and we ran our first two laps in the 4.6-second range under the new 90-percent nitro rule. That's a nice step forward for us.

"There are still 17 races to go and we're already excited about next weekend in Atlanta. We only have a few days before we're back on the track racing. With the gains we made this weekend, I know the entire ExpressAutoParts.com team is anxious to get to there."

Sunday started with Lampus having lane choice over Herbert due to his superior 4.674-second, 305.84-mph qualifying marks. Lampus choose the right lane and, together with Herbert, they opened the day's racing action. When the lights flashed, Lampus reacted in a stellar .451 seconds against a deep-staged Herbert. But less than a second into the run he completely lost traction and Herbert drove away for the 4.73-second win.

"That was really unusual for us," said Lampus, a 35-year-old from Dallas. "My dad noticed right away that we had literally ripped all the rubber off the track where we launched so we'll have to analyze the data to see if we goofed or if there was a problem with the track itself. Maybe old Athena (the motor's nickname) just made too much power today."

Lampus remains in ninth place in the Winston championship points standings. He has now been a part of the top 10 for three of six races this year. His steady qualifying streak also has him temporarily qualified in the eighth and final position of the Big Bud Shootout, an invitation-only special event run each November for the top eight qualifiers of the year.

The elimination rounds of the sixth annual Moto1.net Nationals presented by Chevrolet will be broadcast today from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT) on TNN.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Don Lampus