Toyota Nationals Comp Winner – Greg Kamplain
Words by Phil Hutchison
Toyota Nationals Competition Eliminator champ Greg Kamplain almost didn’t attend the Las Vegas event. After a poor showing at the final Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race he was ready to pack it up and head home but his wife changed his mind. The team headed west, and the Brownsville IN racer took his B/ED to his 8th NHRA national event win.
“The plan was to go to the divisional at Gateway and then head out to Vegas for the national event,” Kamplain said. “I was bummed that we lost early and told Judy I was thinking about heading home. She said no way and if we have to, we can put the spare motor in the car. She is my crew chief and I listen to her. And she said we are going to Vegas!
“In the first round I was supposed to race Mitch Withers but his car was broke. We were still trying some things to make the car go faster after Gateway and we didn’t know he was a no-show until we were in the lanes,” Kamplain said.
“We were in a good spot after qualifying was over. Going into the final session we were third after my last run and then Rampy went to No.1 pushing us back to fourth which was a better spot for us.
“We got the single in the first round and then Mozeris gave us a good run in the second round where it was a heads-up race. My light was better and from all my super-class racing, it’s harder to run if you are out in front so I kept next to him and took a 0.002 stripe which is good for a super car but for Comp it was a little tighter than I would have liked. I was only going 164 MPH thru the traps. Unlike Super Stock running a heads-up race in Comp can still hurt you as far as CIC.”
Kamplain ran a 7.078 to Mozeris’ better 7.015 but the Phoenix AZ racer was dead late on the tree with a 0.101 RT.
Kamplain stayed CIC free until the third round where he was hit with a 0.04 penalty. “In round three I was coming on to Ryan Warter’s Camaro so fast and it was a good race but I took the hit, I already have a permanent 0.09 penalty,” Kamplain said.
In the semifinal round Kamplain got the bye run as his final round competition, the PST Dodge Dakota of Tom Mettler, had to get around Tony Mandella in his I/SMA Camaro. Mettler crushed the tree with a 0.002 to Mandella’s late 0.132 running a 7.567 on an 8.05 index putting Mettler in the finals.
Mettler, unlike Kamplain, was hit by a 0.12 CIC during eliminations forcing the Tehachapi CA racer to push the tree a little too much leaving 0.002 early giving Kamplain the Vegas win.
“I use a blinder and to be honest did not see his red light but once I left the line Judy was on the radio telling me we won and I clicked it early. Even without a radio I would have heard her yelling ‘we won,’ ” Kamplain adds. “I had a terrible light in the final after being in the zone all weekend. The staggered tree caught me off guard. Using the blinders all I see is the last yellow before the green. It turns a full tree into a Pro tree and going back and forth with the Super Comp car is not a big deal. But I just missed the light.”
Spitzer Chassis built the winning dragster with power supplied by Bob Book Racing. “Book builds the motor from the oil pan to the carbs,” Kamplain said. “I do some of the machining on the dragster myself but I let Bob handle the motor.”
“I have to thank my wife Judy for all she does. She is more than someone who goes to the races with me. She works on the car and is the crew. I also would like to thank my son Josh who is also a racer and my daughter Nicole.”
Kamplain would like to thank his sponsor Mt Comfort RVs along with Lucas Oil, Motorsports Unlimited, Fel-Pro Gaskets, Indy Gears, Weldon Racing Pumps, Champion Spark Plugs, K&N Filters, VP Racing Gas, Hoosier Tires and Coan Engineering for their support.