With not a drop of rain in the forecast, Alabama resident and newly nicknamed David "Wild Willey" Rampy made his way to the staging lanes for the third qualifying session at the NHRA Spring Nationals in his Comp Eliminator The Racers Edge 1932 A/EA Bantam Roadster.
The Winningest Driver in Comp History uses many K&N products from Scoop to Oil Filters
Rampy in his Bantam and Fletcher in his Cobalt await their Final Round
Carefully watching each pair in front of him, Rampy's plan was do what he needed to hold on to his qualifying spot and avoid the possibility of a first round pairing with the number one qualifier.
Thanks to Mother Nature, and a stay shower that halted all track activities just before he was to make his run, Rampy would have to wait patiently, as the only Comp car to not have run during the session, with his car parked under the Houston Raceway Park tower for over five hours until he could make the final run.
Rampy and crew celebrate big with National Event win number 72!
"It definitely changes your thinking," said Rampy of the lengthy unforeseen weather delay. "And there have been many times they would just cancel the remainder of the session and say the field was set and move on. Here we were pretty concerned if they were going to give the run to us or not."
"I was sixteenth before that session started and it was kind of where I wanted to stay," continued Rampy. "The guy that ran right before it started to rain bumped me back to seventeenth and I did not want to run number one qualifier first round."
Fletcher in the far lane and Rampy in the near, ready to make his move
While track conditions are never exactly the same after any lengthy weather delay, one doesn't become the winningest driver in NHRA Comp history without knowing how to handle the situation. Rampy did just what he needed and when he was able to make the run he managed to propel himself to the number nine spot.
Rampy wheeled his way through the first four rounds and continued to do so without racking up any "CIC" penalty, a very important feat in the Comp class, where he would then find himself in his 118th NHRA final and against fellow K&N racer, Dan Fletcher who was headed to his 100th.
Just coming off of his Comp Eliminator National Event win two weeks ago at the last NHRA race in Charlotte, Fletcher had to carry a hefty .08 CIC penalty throughout the entire event, but still sliced his way through the rounds and made it to a second Comp final in as many races.
Out of their hundreds of combined final round appearances, one may find it hard to believe that Rampy and Fletcher have only met up on two other occasions in a national event Comp final, where they had an even score of one victory a piece.
"Because we both also run Stock, we have actually raced more against each other there than we have in Comp, mainly since Dan just started competing in this class several years ago," noted Rampy.
Fletcher had the starting line advantage, which he needed all he could get due to his large CIC penalty, but it was still no match for Rampy who was able to come into the final "clean".
"He was already down eight and even though he had me by two hundredths on the tree, that gave me a six hundredths advantage right off the bat," said Rampy of the final with Fletcher.
Thanks to his wise choices over the course of the weekend, Rampy easily took the stripe and put his Racer's Edge/K&N 1932 Bantam into the winner's circle.
"When I caught him, he knew he couldn't get there, so, we call that a little bit of courtesy," he continues. "Instead of just pushing right up to the end where you could end up taking a permanent CIC, he just showed me the courtesy after I caught him that he just shut off. That way neither one of us had a chance of taking a penalty and one sure doesn't want to take a penalty on a loss."
"Fletcher is a smart racer. It's kinda like I scratch your back this week sort of thing. If it would have been a closer race, well things would have been different in how the stripe was played. I consider ourselves pretty good friends and the time will come around again and the roles will be reversed," he chuckled.
With this latest victory, Rampy has now racked up a whopping seventy-two NHRA National event wins and for a team to make it to that many finals, let alone win, having all the right pieces is only half the battle.
"I have been running K&N products for years and to be able to work with a company who understand what you are going through as a racer, many of the K&N guys are racers," he paused. "Wow, it makes a big difference. Not every company can say that. I feel that companies like K&N work harder than others that aren't racer oriented. They are much more hands on and involved. I just can't say enough about Steve, Bob and everyone at K&N."
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