With many of the biggest names in the country in Comp Eliminator on hand for the NHRA JEGS CajunNationals held recently in Belle Rose, Louisiana, it's no wonder it ended up being one very quick field with drivers needing to run more than .542 under their index to make the show.
David Rampy and his 1932 Bantam in NHRA Comp Eliminator
All the ingredients were in place for a stellar field from the get go, with the event not only being an important one for so many, but the added $25,000.00 in total bonus funds to be paid out for the class put up by Attitude Apparel.
David Rampy usually has a very special way of putting himself right where he wants to be on the qualifying ladder for eliminations; after all going into this event he was number six on the NHRA all-time win list. For this event, the Piedmont, Alabama resident placed his K&N 1932 Bantam at number six in the field and set himself up for a first round match up with the 2010 NHRA Comp Eliminator World Champion, Al Ackerman.
Not one to fold to any type of pressure, Rampy easily took the win light in round one with a much better reaction time and plenty of room to keep it safe at the stripe, when Ackerman had some apparent mechanical difficulties, his car running well off its usual pace.
That would set up Rampy for a heads-up race in round two, with fellow A/EA class competitor Michael Johnson. Rampy was nothing but stellar on the tree with a .007 light and would have made it really tough for Johnson who qualified almost a full tenth of a second slower than Rampy. Johnson gave it up on the line with a red-light and sent Rampy on to the quarter-finals and allowing him to keep his index safe for the time being.
Things can change pretty quick from one round to the next in drag racing and for NHRA's Comp Eliminator drivers, those changes can make things rather tough on them if those changes are big hits to their index.
In round three, Rampy managed to get a little better light over fellow heavy-hitter Arnie Martel and caught him before the stripe. Martel stayed in it hard and made Rampy work for the round victory, causing the multi-time champ to carry a .06 CIC into the semi-finals.
Rampy pulled out his second near perfect reaction time eliminations, giving him a whopping six-hundredths starting line advantage over Steve Szupka and he needed every last bit of it. The semi's proved to be another exciting round for Rampy, taking as little of the stripe as he could for the win, but unfortunately taking another CIC hit by adding another .03 to his index for the final.
On the other side of the ladder was the Cinderella story of the class, Russell Joly who had only made his way into this very quick field by making it in as, not first or second but third alternate.
For the final round, both Rampy and Joly both were down .09 on their index. Over the last two rounds, Joly seemed to have been able to step up his program from qualifying as his car posted his best numbers of the weekend. Unfortunately, his day came to an end before the race could be run as his car refused to start and a great story came to an abrupt end.
At this point all Rampy needed to do was to stage under power with his K&N Bantam and take the green for the win in his 124th career final round appearance.
Rampy made a nice pass down the quarter, getting out of it early and coasting across the finish line for his seventy-fifth NHRA National Event victory. The most recent win now ties him with Pat Austin at number five on NHRA's All-Time win list.
The milestone of just the 124th final round is also quite notable in itself. In the history of NHRA Drag Racing, only John Force and Warren Johnson have competed in more finals than David Rampy.
"It was a heck of a race to win, but I hated to see Joly have problems in the final," said Rampy. "The way he was running the last couple of laps, I knew it was going to be a tough final round, heck every round we had today was tough. I can't say thanks enough though for the opportunity to take home the $10,000.00 winner's check from Attitude Apparel. Their support of the race weekend brought some of the best in the country together. To be able to leave with the Wally and the check means a lot."
David Rampy uses both K&N air filters and oil filters on not only his Comp Eliminator car, but also his new for the 2011 season 1989 Chevy Camaro he competes with in Super Stock.
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