KRAMER EARNS SECOND CAREER PRO STOCK WALLY AT LUCAS OIL NATS
Deric Kramer is having one heck of a season for a full-time, part-time time racer, as he likes to call his operation.
Kramer visited his third final round in a row, collecting his second win of his career Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway all while watching his team climb from 10th to sixth in the championship standings over the last three races.
“I am extremely comfortable, especially in these last couple of races from Denver on and I think our performance has shown that,” Kramer said. “Starting in Denver and then that Western Swing and then finishing up in Brainerd and Indy next. Getting so many races in a row, getting chances to work on the car consecutively, getting a chance for me as a driver to improve consecutively and not waiting months in between one lap versus the next, I think we are getting our stride.”
And this time, the win came with people watching.
After Kramer’s first win, a rain-delayed event that was completed on a Monday with little fanfare, the young racer was thrilled to finally hoist a Wally with fans in the stands.
“It’s almost like I won for the first time again,” Kramer said. “The fanfare and everything has been completely different. But it has been fun.”
Kramer won in a thriller over Tanner Gray as two of the deadliest at the tree squared off for the second race in a row, with the nod this time going to Kramer. After Gray won two weeks ago in Seattle, Kramer came out on top with an .002 light combined with a solid 6.652-second pass at 207.56 mph in the American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro. Gray, on the other hand, lit the red bulb by -.002 and limped to his second runner-up of the season.
“I know how good you have to be to win in this class. You just have to be ready every time you go to the starting line. There are no free shots,” Kramer said. “You have to be competitive and if you are not competitive on the tree, if you are not competitive on the track, then you are not going to win and you are going to go home. We are going to continue to do that and hopefully it works out for us more times than it doesn’t.”
Kramer added wins over teammate Jason Line, Alex Laughlin and Vincent Nobile on his way to fifth career final.
Kramer earned holeshot victories over Nobile and Laughlin in rounds one and two before earning a wire-to-wire win over Line in the semifinals. Gray, meanwhile, had wins over Greg Anderson, Fernando Cuadra and Dave Connolly to reach the final.
And all the while, Kramer had his father, David, cheering him on from the starting line on Sunday.
“He tries to leave me alone. He knows I go out there with the attitude of, ‘all we have to do is not screw up and we should do pretty well,’” Kramer said. “When you go out there and think too hard something ends up not in your favor, so we just go out there and try not to screw up and if you do that four times you win.”
With the win, Kramer also moves higher up the standings to sixth with one race remaining before the Countdown to the Championship, making Kramer’s team - which has missed two races this season - a real contender for the title.
“That’s great to think about, but at the end of the day, if you can just win six races in a row, I guess you win,” Kramer said with a laugh. “I am going to try to do that and if I can I think we will be happy campers.”