Australia’s Richie Crampton has claimed yet another award, this time the prestigious RACER Magazine 2014 Rookie of the Year award.
Driver of the GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, Crampton beat an impressive list of rising stars to win the coveted prize including F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, IndyCar’s Carlos Munoz and Sage Karam, and NASCAR’s Kyle Larson.
Crampton, 34, said he was delighted to join a distinguished list of former winners including F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, NASCAR’s Joey Logano, IndyCar winner James Hinchcliffe and Supercross star Ryan Dungey.
"I'm over the moon to receive the RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year award for 2014," Crampton said.
"If you look at all the other rookies that were on that list over all forms of motorsports, I'm blown away that I won.
"This really just puts another cherry on top of what was an amazing year for me. I'm excited that the fans agree."
Adelaide-born Crampton moved to the United States 10 years ago to chase his dream of racing a Top Fuel dragster and, after seven years working as a crew member for Morgan Lucas Racing, was given the opportunity when team owner Morgan Lucas stepped away from the driver’s seat on a full time basis last year.
Crampton captured his first NHRA career win in just his ninth event start at the Toyota Summernationals at Englishtown, New Jersey, last June.
He followed that win with a landmark victory at the sport’s biggest and most prestigious race, the 60th Anniversary Chevrolet Performance US Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, in September.
Crampton finished the season by earning his first No. 1 qualifying spot at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, and being crowned winner of the highly-respected and sought Auto Club Road to the Future title.
"I'd like to give my appreciation to Morgan Lucas and the entire Lucas family for giving me the opportunity to drive such a potent race car," Crampton said.
"And I've got to thank my parents back in Australia, Alan and June, for giving me the opportunities they did over the years with their endless support.
"I'd also like to thank my team, my crew guys and my crew chief, Aaron Brooks. They did a fantastic job in giving me one of the best race cars all year. They certainly are the ones behind this award.
"Most of all though, I want to thank the fans and everyone that voted for me in the RACER Magazine poll. Without their support, I wouldn't be able to keep fulfilling my dreams now. I feel absolutely blessed and couldn't ask for anything more."
Crampton's 2015 season continues at the Amalie Gatornationals, held 12-15 March at Auto Plus Raceway in Gainesville, Florida.