Kalitta Motorsports announced on Monday that rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. resigned as driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster in the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series. It was odd timing with the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals up next this weekend, which is the annually the biggest race of the season, but Coughlin is now out.
It also didn’t take long for Kalitta to find a replacement.
Richie Crampton will replace Coughlin not just this weekend at Indy, but for the remaining races.
“It was a huge honor to get the call from Jim O (Oberhofer) asking if I could finish out the year with the team,” said Crampton via a team release. “Connie Kalitta is a legend, and for me to get an opportunity like this is unreal. I am excited to jump into the SealMaster Toyota dragster and see what we can do. I never knew if I was going to be able to drive a Top Fuel dragster again, so I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
Crampton began his NHRA career in 2007 as a crew member at Morgan Lucas Racing, eventually elevating himself to clutch specialist and car chief. However, Crampton had the desire to drive. Morgan Lucas Racing put Crampton in a Top Fuel ride in 2014, and Crampton had success nearly immediately. Crampton scored the U.S. Nationals win in his rookie season on his way to the Auto Club Road To The Future trophy. In 2015, Crampton earned five victories and finished third in the final point standings. In 72 career events, Crampton has earned seven wins, five No. 1 qualifiers and 70 career round wins.
SealMaster, the pavement maintenance industry’s one-stop source for materials, products and equipment, will continue to back Kalitta Motorsports as Crampton’s primary sponsor. SealMaster has been a valued partner of Kalitta Motorsports family since 2014 and a primary sponsor since 2016.
“After talking with Connie Kalitta and SealMaster, we decided Richie Crampton would make a good fit to fill the seat of the SealMaster dragster,” said Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “His driving experience as well as his overall knowledge of the dragster will make him a valuable asset to Kalitta Motorsports. We were happy he was available to race in Indy.”