Adding to an already astonishing win record, Piedmont Alabama's David Rampy put his 1989 K&N GT/HA Camaro through the paces to pick up another NHRA Super Stock National Event win, during the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA GatorNationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, in north central Florida. The feat was just the beginning at what could be an early season championship point's roll for Rampy, as the very next week he drove his Super Stock entry to another final for a runner-up finish during the NHRA JEGS Cajun SPORTSnationals Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana.
David Rampy gets the NHRA Super Stock National Event win at the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA GatorNationals
David Rampy and his Super Stock 1989 K&N GT/HA Camaro at the Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida
Rampy started off the GatorNationals event by winning the GT/HA class title before setting his sights on the overall Super Stock event championship. This was again an event where Rampy could also be found behind the wheel of his 1932 Bantam which he competes in the ultra-competitive Competition Eliminator class. "Things just didn't work out for that car during this event," he pointed out. "We ended up going out second round in Comp, but things went very well in the Super Stock car."
"You know in the Super Stock car, basically the whole weekend everything went pretty smooth other than having to stay until Monday," he continued. "It wasn't bad, I mean we had some good cars on our side of the ladder. In Super Stock, there are a lot of good racers so it's kinda hard not to."
Rampy made his way past a tough Bob Marshall in round one buy taking just .005 of the stripe and moved on to send Jeff Taylor packing in round two, once again having the better reaction time which forced Taylor under his dial. That would set up an all too familiar match up for Rampy in round three and a heads up run.
"There were only two of us there in GT/HA and the same guy I ran in class, I had to run him in third round," he reflected. After being able to easily outrun Tony Cafaro in his 2002 Firebird during class eliminations, Rampy was looking to being safe on the tree and again turning on the win light in his lane.
"Well, he kinda surprised us," he said of Cafaro. "He went faster than I thought he would, but going in we knew we could go faster than we had been, too. So it ended up not being a problem. We, of course, had to run Jeff Taylor second round, who is a tough competitor and we knew if we got by him, we'd have a heads up the next round that we felt good about and that would give us a bye in round four. So we thought, wow, that's looking pretty good just need to get by Jeff."
"At that point everything was half-way falling into place," he added.
After sending Cafaro to the trailer for the second time during the event, Rampy took his earned bye on Sunday, but would have to wait until Monday to see any more on track action, as once again Mother Nature came along with the dreaded "R" word and forced the event to be put on hold.
Knowing that they had a bye next round, most racers in a situation like this would have been fine with a chance to save it for the next morning and be able to use it as a time run, in what could possibly be all new track and weather conditions than those from the day before. But for a multi-time champion like K&N's David Rampy, he's just all too good at reading whatever conditions that may be thrown at him.
"Luckily the track was pretty much the same," said Rampy of Monday's conditions. "The weather was not a lot different, but we had wind every day and it was from different directions. One time it would be a cross-head, another it would be tail and then the next time it might be a head wind, but a different cross direction to it and that all affects your E.T. and how you dial. The wind was really the main thing that was messing with us."
Rampy just switched to running this 1984 Camaro over the last couple of seasons and comments on how and why the car remains so consistent in lots of different conditions. "It's kind of a middle of the pack kind of car in that it's fast for its class, but not super-fast overall and so it doesn't go out there and blow the tires off and can hook well in a lot of different track conditions. It's just a really good consistent car with a lot of good parts on it that keep it that way, right down to the K&N filters."
Now that Monday morning had rolled around, Rampy met up with Herbie Null in round five. Rampy may have been a little behind on the tree, but used some of those well-honed driving skills to take the stripe by .004 and off to the semi-finals where Jake Sealey tried just a little too hard and turned it red, sending Rampy to the final.
"Well, the final was a lucky round," Rampy explained of the odd scenario that unfolded before the pair staged. "Actually in the semi's, when the car left it just had like a little blip, like it just went â€˜pop' for a split second, like a little miss. So I ended up running two over the dial and I thought, well what was that. You know sometimes, these cars will get kinda high [wheels in the air] when they leave and will get the gas away from the jets. We weren't sure if maybe that's all it was or what. I told Barry, all I can do it just dial for that."
"So when I got into the water for the final and went to do the burnout, the car quit," he continued. "It just went dead and I thought, what in the world and starting looking at everything. It had power, since the pump and everything was on. I tried to start it again and it wouldn't start. Todd Ewing, the boy that I actually got the car from, he had won Super Comp and happened to be standing there and he went running back there and they raised the hatch up. He looked down and the wire had come off from the fuel pump to the relay. So he stuck it back on and it started right up. So I did a real quick burnout and shot right to the starting line."
"It was certainly a bit of a panic mode for a while there and I did my best to try to get back to being focused," he said. "When I left the starting line, it didn't stumble. So after the way I had dialed it, I told myself I was breaking out and you gotta get rid of something. So I just went down there and killed it off and luckily, it just worked out."
Even after all the chaos, that can seem to be happening in slow motion to a driver, Rampy still managed to have a decent light, but was .022 behind Joe Teuton Jr., where it just came down to a squeaker at the stripe. Teuton taking too much stripe and going under by just .001, while Rampy, knowing his car well, drove it to a perfect dead-on his dial 10.250 for the GatorNationals Super Stock win.
"You know, we pride ourselves on always getting to the starting line and at least making a race of it," he explained. "And when that was all going down I was thinking, 'No, we can't be in the final of the GatorNationals and the car won't run', but luckily thanks to some help, it all worked out."
With a fresh NHRA Wally in tow, Rampy and his two K&N cars hit the road for the next event on their extensive 2012 schedule the very next weekend in Belle Rose, Louisiana. Where his trusty Comp Eliminator car has not been his friend as of yet for the still young season, his Super Stock Camaro continued to shine.
Rampy worked his way through five tough rounds before earning the all-important bye into his second final in as many races. There he would face, Mike Crutchfield and although neither had a light that one would want to write home about, Rampy still ran his K&N Camaro on his 10.18 dial to just come up short for the victory.
"I just have to thanks Barry for all his help at each race and to the folks who have been with me for a lot of years," Rampy pointed out. "Folks like Steve and Bob at K&N, well you just don't get any better than that. They know and understand what all of us go through as a racer and what we put out cars through to get to these championships. When you get the knowledge that they have and the support that they give through their products that keep us out there round after round, they are a part of this team and we are happy to take K&N to the winner's circle any chance we can."
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