TOPEKA, Kan. (Sept. 22) -- Top Fuel driver Don Lampus has enlisted the assistance of noted crew chief Wayne Dupuy for the remainder of the 2000 season. Dupuy will continue to tune the Nitro Fish Funny Car driven by Cristen Powell but will also...
TOPEKA, Kan. (Sept. 22) -- Top Fuel driver Don Lampus has enlisted the assistance of noted crew chief Wayne Dupuy for the remainder of the 2000 season. Dupuy will continue to tune the Nitro Fish Funny Car driven by Cristen Powell but will also spend time with Lampus' ExpressAutoParts.com team in an advisory role beginning at the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
The move comes after an odd sequence of events at the last tour stop in Reading, Pa., when former Lampus crew chief Mike McLaughlin suddenly left the team after Round 2 of qualifying. At that point the team's best lap was a partially shut-off 5.8-second effort. Before leaving the pit, McLaughlin removed some components off of the car and the team eventually made the decision to not run again out of concern for Lampus' safety.
The end result of the fracas was that Lampus failed to qualify for the first time this season. He did however stay in the Top 10 of the Winston championship points standing, which has helped him keep his dream of being named NHRA Rookie of the Year alive.
"I am really, really looking forward to racing at Topeka," said Lampus. "Especially now that we have a guy of Wayne Dupuy's talent helping us. We have totally regrouped since the last race and rebuilt the entire car to match Wayne's tune-up. The entire team has rallied around the cause and I think we might come out and have our best race of the year.
"Wayne is one of the best tuners out there and we are honored that he has found a way to help us out. He filled in as my crew chief before and we actually won our first race in the IHRA with him in our pit. He also helped us out in Brainerd (Minn.) this year and we recorded our best elapsed time ever under the 90 percent rule so we have complete confidence in everything he is doing with us now. He's got me excited again."
Lampus has enjoyed a stellar rookie season in NHRA competition. The reigning IHRA Top Fuel World Champion has been a part of the Winston Top 10 after 15 of 18 races and has logged six elimination round wins including an NHRA-best semifinal finish in Denver.
"We plan on making up for the points we lost with the DNQ in Reading when we get to Topeka," Lampus said. "Let me put it this way; everyone on this ExpressAutoParts.com team is very motivated to succeed."
Same-day television coverage of the elimination rounds of the 12th annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals will air on TNN from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET and PT), Sunday, Oct. 1.