With a drag racing career that extends back to the early 1970's, Brownsburg, Indiana's Greg Kamplain has had a long record of successes over the years that include numerous NHRA divisional wins, three NHRA Division 3 Championships and much more. It's been the national level events that have plagued the talented Midwestern racer over the seasons, but with the conclusion of the extra-long weather drenched running of the 2012 NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Greg Kamplain can certainly enjoy knowing that his perseverance paid off after grabbing his first NHRA National Event win since the early 80's, and a big one at that, becoming the 2012 Competition Eliminator Champ at the most prestigious event of the season.
Greg Kamplain's Competition Eliminator Dragster qualified 6th for the US Nationals
Kamplain won Indy.
Qualifying went without interruption for Competition Eliminator, a class that normally contests the top thirty-two on the sheet, but for Indy the field is doubled to sixty-four. With only fifty-four entries entering the class, the field was still much larger than usual and it would make trying to place yourself exactly where you wanted to be on the ladder, just a little more interesting. Kamplain placed his K&N B/ED Spitzer dragster high on the sheet at number six with his 6.896 or -0.584 under his classes 7.48 index.
This win goes down as Greg Kamplain's first event win at Indy in the Competition Eliminator Class
But that's when it all came to a screeching halt. The arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, that had been anticipated for several days, made their way into central Indiana on Saturday, where they dumped on the event for the next three days. That caused officials to bump the remaining portion of the event schedule to the following weekend.
"It really wasn't that bad for us," Kamplain explained of the postponement. "We live right close by, so it wasn't a big problem for us to return like it would have been for many others. The first weekend was normal, I mean qualifying was normal for us. It was all of the eliminations that were rained out. But when we came back the following week, it ended up being a shorter car count, since many couldn't make it back. Even though there were less cars, there were still the same number of rounds to go."
"There were a lot of racers that got one and even two byes, but not me," he laughed. "I had a car to run every round. No ladder byes, no people that didn't return type bye, so for me it seemed like any normal race."
Although he had to wait a week before he would get to take to the track for eliminations, it was all worthwhile for Kamplain. First he faced Mike Farrell in round one and with his much better reaction time, he was able to take just enough stripe and save his index by just thousands. That would move him on to round two, which wouldn't be contested until the following day, where he would face one of the most legendary sportsman racers of all-time, K&N's David Rampy. Again, Kamplain grabbed a nice starting line advantage to kick off the round and when Rampy wasn't able to stay in the throttle of his ride, allowed Kamplain to stay just above on his index for another clean round win.
But that would be the last of that and it would get tougher from that point on.
"I was driving really well on the starting line, but I wasn't doing a very good job at the finish line of tightening it up and to keep from hitting my index and taking a hit for the next round," he explained. "I was afraid that was going to come back and haunt me, but we got lucky.
In round three, Kamplain was fortunate to get the victory over Jenny Treadwell, and her inline six cylinder powered dragster, as she was carrying a fairly large CIC penalty of six hundredths coming into the round and he remained clean. But the round win would come at a cost for Kamplain and his K&N dragster and with Treadwell's nearly perfect light, caused him to keep his foot in a little longer than he would have liked to guarantee a round win and with that his first CIC of the event.
Much was the same for Kamplain in the quarter-final match up where he would again take the win light at the cost of adding even more CIC to his total. Now he would face Robert Bailey who was only carrying two hundredths to Kamplain's eight.
"In the semi-final, I had Bob Bailey, which was the first time during the event that I had to run a car that was faster than me," he pointed out. "I was a little worried about being able to stay in front of him without hurting myself any more than I had on my index. I got really lucky and he red lit. That meant I could go on to the final without having any more adjustment. Over on the other side of the semi-final, although Jeremy Bailey lost, he had a really good light and caused Glen Treadwell to take a nine [hundredths] hit, so with my eight and his nine, that really evened things out going into the final."
While there might not have been a lot of time between before the next round, Kamplain spent a good part of it planning his angle of attack for the Comp Eliminator final. "I didn't know how much Glen had left, if any, but I knew I still had some and was willing to use it if I had to, to win the race," he said of his final round strategy. "Again, I was able to get a better light and get around him without having to run the car all the way out and hurting myself permanently."
Kamplain and Treadwell made it a great final for any NHRA event, but especially for the granddaddy of them all, the U.S. Nationals. Both out of the gate with great lights, but again Kamplain was just zoned in on the tree and put up spectacular near perfect bulb. That was all he needed to push the envelope just hard enough at the top end, to grab up the stripe, the win light and his first ever U.S. Nationals event championship.
When asked how it felt to add his name to the list of elite who have won "Indy", he was quick to respond, "It's really neat. This is only the second national meet I have won now and they say, if you're only going to win one, this is the one to win."
Campaigning both his Comp Eliminator and his Super Comp 8.90 index dragster throughout the year at various NHRA Div 3 and national events, Kamplain has always been a true believer in each and every product he uses on his race cars and is the first to point out how each are carefully chosen with performance in mind. "The K&N products that we use on both cars not only provide the ‘peace of mind' protection that we need to have each time we pull onto the track, but they also perform with a great level of consistency," he paused. "Meaning each time you pull a K&N oil filter out of the box, you know what you are getting, every time. You can count on that with all K&N products, that outstanding level of performance time and time again."
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