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The start of racing was delayed for nearly three hours by rain on Sunday, Aug. 23, but it didn't take long for the racing action to warm up the Brainerd crowd despite a gusting wind and temperatures in the high 50s.
NHRA Top Fuel and Funny Car teams took advantage of the cool, overcast weather conditions at Brainerd International Raceway to reset all four national records in those categories. Among the records, Antron Brown set the Top Fuel elapsed time record at 3.680 seconds and Jack Beckman set the Funny Car mark at 3.901 seconds. National speed records were set by Spencer Massey (332.75 mph) and Matt Hagan (329.58).
Seventeen cars were entered in Top Fuel and Funny Car with the unlucky unqualified racers being Luigi Novelli in Top Fuel and Tony Pedregon in Funny Car. There were just 15 entries in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, meaning only the pairings were in doubt.
Richie Crampton claimed his fourth Top Fuel victory of the year and topping off a perfect weekend.
Crampton defeated Brittany Force in the final with the quickest pass of his career, his 3.695-second pass also the third quickest in history.
The Lucas Oil Dragster pilot took the #1 qualifier spot and remained untouchable as he progressed through to the finals, defeating teammate Morgan Lucas, Larry Dixon and Shawn Langdon in the process.
"This race is going to go down in the history books," Crampton said. "It was just some amazing racing today and there were some super-fast race cars out there. I keep forgetting that I ran a (3.69) in the final, because winning the event is so important.
Crampton was able to celebrate in the winner's circle with Lucas Oil co-founders Forrest and Charlotte Lucas and his entire Morgan Lucas Racing team.
"For a Lucas Oil car like ours to win the Lucas Oil Nationals, that means a huge amount to Forrest and Charlotte and our entire MLR team," Crampton said. "I couldn't be happier to be a part of Morgan Lucas Racing and to have such a great crew behind me. I've been working with them for a long time, so this means a lot to all of us."
The win comes two years to the day since Crampton earned his Top Fuel drag racing license, and was witnessed by his parents Alan and June, who flew out from Australia.
“When your family lives on the other side of the world and you're over here pursuing your own dreams, it's pretty special to have them with you in the winner's circle,” he said.