One of the safest bets in all of Las Vegas might be to say that David Rampy knows a thing or two about NHRA's Competition Eliminator class. The Piedmont, Alabama resident not only knows it well, but also continues to be the winningest driver in the class and was about to add to that winning list when he rolled into The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 10th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.
NHRA Competition Eliminator Driver David Rampy
David Rampy Wins NHRA National Event in Comp Eliminator Class
Prior to the Las Vegas event, Rampy had wheeled his way to the Comp Wally a whopping sixty-one times and in the process sent fifty-two different drivers packing with only runner-up, many of them while driving his K&N/Racers Edge A/EA 1932 Bantam.
One doesn't find the success enjoyed by Rampy simply by being a good driver. It's his methods utilized off the track, well before race day even materializes, that have helped catapult him to his level of achievement.
"I know sometimes Comp isn't the easiest to understand," Rampy confessed. "The field was going to be very fast. So basically we were trying to figure out a spot to get in to where we maybe would not have to run a real fast car first round. We were trying to maneuver ourselves around on the ladder in qualifying."
"It came down to the last qualifying session and it just got crazy," he continued. "It was the fastest session and people were moving every which way [on the ladder]. So you just had to go out there, make a good run and let it go at that."
For those who may not understand all the craziness that is Comp Eliminator, Rampy compares some of the strategies and tactics to that of a widely played board game.
"I guess it's a lot like, and I don't even know how to play," he paused as he laughed. "Chess I suppose. Qualifying compares to something like that. You are trying to look ahead and figure out where's the best spot to be. It becomes very confusing to other people, I know, but by the same token that's just what you gotta do if you want to have what you think is the best opportunity to win."
Doing all he could to control his own destiny for race day, Rampy admits he wasn't able to land where he had hoped on the qualifying sheet.
"I actually ended up being higher on the ladder than I wanted to be," he noted. "One the ladder was done and qualifying was over with and I looked at it I thought, 'Oh, this is not good.' The key to winning a lot of these races is how you fair first round and who you get."
Rampy wasn't necessarily looking forward to his first round pairing, as he knew it was going to be an extra tough one.
"The guy I had to run, he's a very good racer and a very competitive racer," Rampy said of Dean Carter. "You run certain people and you know that they're going to give you a good run. They are not going to be late on the tree nor are they going to red-light. They are going to be solid and that's what I expected from the guy I had first round."
Of the entire first round of Comp Eliminator, Rampy and Carter had the tightest starting line packages by a mile, neither cutting the other any slack and both posting double-oh lights.
"We got break there," said Rampy. "They ran us fairly early that morning and I don't know if the track was a little iffy for him or what, because something happened to his car."
Second round, Rampy's opponent surprised him a little in the "game of Chess" that they play at the top end of the track, trying to take the win light without hurting their index for the coming rounds.
"He kind of shut off quicker than I thought he would and caught me off guard a little bit," chuckled Rampy. "I got on the brakes as hard as I could, but I still took more win light than I should have."
Rampy would move on to the quarterfinals to face Steven Kent, but now he was no longer "clean". He now had to carry a .04 CIC penalty, but that was nowhere near Kent's hefty .18 CIC.
Knowing he was already behind the eight ball from the start may have been all that was needed to make Kent push the tree. Both Kent and Rampy went red, but another plus for Rampy would be being the quicker car of the pair, giving Kent the handicap and thus being the first to foul on the line.
Rampy would move on to the semi-final were he would meet up with Todd Patterson, who just happens to be his engine builder.
"They were down a tenth and I was only down four," Rampy said of his pairing with Patterson. "And really when I win, they win, too. So that's kind of one of those situations where he's not going to run me to the other end and if I catch him, he's going to shut off. Simply because he don't want to use me up. If he can't win the race, he will want me to go on and win the race."
Patterson gave Rampy plenty to work with by being tardy off the line and Rampy was able to easily take the win without any further hit to his CIC going into the final.
Rampy would meet Division Six racer John Edwards in the championship round, Edwards in his very first NHRA National event final.
"I knew he was a decent racer and had been around for a long time," reflected Rampy.
One could say that in this case, with all that he has accomplished, Rampy could be referred to as the "house" and as Vegas odds making goes, more so than not, the odds favor the "house".
It was all over at the start as Edwards went .002 red and sent Rampy and his K&N/Racers Edge '32 Bantam to his sixty-second Comp Eliminator NHRA National event win.
Edwards was the sixteenth driver who had never won a national event that Rampy would challenge in the final, with the fifteen prior getting the better outcome.
"I didn't know what the number was, but I knew it was a lot," Rampy pointed out. "I would lose and give them their first win and I thought about it as we went up for it, [final] here we go, another guy that's never won."
"It's always a plus to win on here at the end of the year," he added commenting in his victory. "It's just a boost to get you through the winter."
The winningest Comp Eliminator driver in NHRA history trusts his high dollar engine components to the protection he receives from a vast array of K&N products. Rampy uses both the K&N oil filters as well as the air filters on both his Comp Eliminator entry as well as his 1969 Camaro he competes with in F/SA.
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