Australian Rookie Top Fuel pilot Richie Crampton has completed his first official test in the 8,000-horsepower GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster.
Crampton and the Morgan Lucas Racing team made a total of 24 runs at West Palm Beach, Florida last week ahead of the 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, 6-9 February in Pomona.
Crampton described the test as a valuable learning experience.
"It was a test session I needed, for sure," Crampton said after returning to MLR's headquarters.
"I needed a chance to make some of the rookie mistakes I'm going to make, and I'm glad I had the luxury of doing that down there."
"We had the luxury of making a lot of runs, which helped me get acclimated to driving in all types of scenarios: night time, day time, heat, cold, and even with someone in the other lane, which I hadn't done before.
"On top of everything going on with me being new, we had a number of crew guys shuffle positions as well, so we tried to do service work under race-day time constraints to get everyone used to their new jobs. It was a learning curve for everybody, and certainly no one was learning more than I was on every pass."
At the end of the day, Crampton demonstrated his potential by peeling off a 3.800-second run at 323.90 mph, his best to date.
"Making that pass was a huge confidence builder for me," Crampton said.
"It was the smoothest the car had felt to that point. Once I knew the car had made it through the zones we'd had troubles with and it was still so smooth, I was like, 'Here we go, this one is going to be real good.' Before I knew it, the finish line cones were coming up. It was a great feeling to pull the parachutes.
"Having had this test I can really mentally prepare myself for what's next. I want everything to become second nature and work on creating better reaction times.
"By the end of the week, I could feel the chemistry is there, the team is outstanding, and (crew chief) Aaron Brooks is making great horsepower. I was excited already but now I really can't wait for Pomona."