CLASSY fAreweLL of the YeAr
Tom Kristensen bowed out of racing with a
50 percent win rate at Le Mans, and despite
Audi’s struggles in the WEC, the great Dane
never gave less than 100 percent.
It seemed hard to believe this was Richie
Crampton’s first season in NHRA Top Fuel,
and that’s because it wasn’t. But it was his
first time driving the flexing 10,000hp
beasts. The Australian used to be the
clutch-builder on the Morgan Lucas Racing
dragster, but like Robert Hight and Mike
Dunn before him, he was also a crew
member willing to step up, strap into the
cockpit and feel the 5Gs in all their
stomach-tightening, eye-popping glory.
And boy, the guy was good! Taking
over from owner Morgan Lucas, who
stepped back from a full schedule to
concentrate on the operational side of the
team, the Adelaide, Australia-born Crampton
was scintillating in his inaugural year of
driving. The first of two victories came at
Englishtown, N.J., only his ninth start, and
he followed this up with victory at the
prestigious US Nationals at Indy in August.
Those two wins helped the newbie get
into the NHRA’s Countdown playoffs, where
he went on to finish ninth in the final points.
And now, with a full season of Top Fuel
experience under his belt, who knows what
your 2014 RACER Rookie of the Year
winner might achieve this time around?
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
OF THE YEAR
HAll OF FAmE
ClUB RACER OF THE YEAR
The 2014 SCCA National Championship
Runoffs at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
marked Kyle Keenan’s first Runoffs attempt.
Driving a Kia Rio 5 in B-Spec and racing all
season on a tight budget, the 24-year-old
Keenan was given a new set of tires by
fellow B-Spec competitor and eight-time
National Champion David Daughtery in
time for the last qualifying session. Keenan
used those tires to jump several positions
on the grid to start in second place, now
well ahead of Daughtery, and Kyle drove a
smart and quick race to win by 3.57sec.
The whole tale had showcased what
amateur racing in SCCA is all about:
sportsmanship, determination, and talent.
Crampton comes alive! Richie became
the 100th winner in NHRA’s Top Fuel
category, but only after team owner
morgan lucas and crew chief Aaron
Brooks taught him to calm his
nerves about going up against
the NHRA’s biggest names.
He’d waited his
whole life to be at
the Runoffs, then
won first time out!