Texan Top Fuel driver ready to race in Houston

HOUSTON (April 11) -- He may forgo the nearest farm-to-market road for the smooth quarter-mile drag strip at Houston Raceway Park, but Texan Don Lampus Jr. is still hoping to do a lot of hot-rodding this weekend in his 315-mph...

HOUSTON (April 11) -- He may forgo the nearest farm-to-market road for the smooth quarter-mile drag strip at Houston Raceway Park, but Texan Don Lampus Jr. is still hoping to do a lot of hot-rodding this weekend in his 315-mph ExpressAutoParts.com Top Fuel Dragster. Lampus, a 35-year-old from Dallas will join the rest of the world's fastest drivers on the NHRA tour for the first of four stops in the Lone Star State this Thursday through Sunday at the annual running of the O'Reilly Nationals in Baytown.

"I can't wait for this race to start," said Lampus, an NHRA rookie who won the IHRA Top Fuel title in 1999. "This is so close to home for me and I have a huge group of friends and family coming down to cheer me on this weekend. They're all so excited that it's really got me revved up to have a career weekend.

"We certainly have the pieces in place to record some huge numbers. I've never raced at this track but the word is that it's the best in the world. It's only a few feet above sea level so the conditions are conducive to running great elapsed times and big speeds. Houston Raceway Park is a big league track and can handle whatever horsepower you throw at it so we'll be going for it every lap. I'm excited."

Lampus, a former off-road world champion, is currently one point out of the top 10 in the Winston championship points standings. The ExpressAutoParts.com team has reached as high as 10th place but a first-round loss at the last stop in Las Vegas resulted in the slight slide in the standings, a fact that does not sit well with the competitive group.

"It was very disappointing to slip out of the top 10," Lampus said. "But having been there for the first time heading into Vegas and getting to enjoy the feeling for one race, we are now doubly motivated to put this ExpressAutoParts.com dragster back where it belongs.

"We ran the new generation five-disc clutch in Vegas and it put us on a bit of a learning curve. The good news is that we were very consistent with it and I think we have the whole system sorted out. Houston will be a good test. Our work is cut out for us, we have to get back in the top 10 and this car has to take us there.

"We've enjoyed a little success already this year and it only made us hungrier for more. But we have to be sensible and take things one step at a time. Since we lost in Round 1 in Vegas, I'd like to win a round in Houston. Then we'll look to the second round and go from there. We're still a very young team feeling our way along."

The elimination rounds of the 13th annual O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil will be broadcast from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT) Sunday, April 16 on TNN.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Don Lampus