Gainesville: Rod Fuller final summary

FULLER RACES TO ANOTHER SEMIFINAL FINISH AT GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2007) -- After racing his Valvoline dragster to its second semifinal finish of the 2007 NHRA season Sunday at Gainesville Raceway, four-time NHRA Top Fuel...

FULLER RACES TO ANOTHER SEMIFINAL FINISH AT GAINESVILLE

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2007) -- After racing his Valvoline dragster to its second semifinal finish of the 2007 NHRA season Sunday at Gainesville Raceway, four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner Rod Fuller continues to lead the POWERade Top Fuel standings. It marks the sixth time in the last seven races that he has advanced to at least the semifinals.

Starting from the No. 2 qualifying slot for the third straight race, Fuller knocked off rising star J.R. Todd and Dave Grubnic, before falling short to four-time series champion Tony Schumacher in the semifinals.

As the seventh pair of cars to battle the tricky Gainesville Raceway quarter mile on Sunday morning, the two rising stars used nearly identical reaction times and put on a great show for the capacity crowd in Gator Country. Fuller carded his fifth straight round win by racing his Rob Flynn-tuned Valvoline dragster to a performance of 4.515 seconds at 328.70 mph to just edge Todd at the finish line. The 2006 NHRA Rookie of the Year drove his Johnny West-tuned dragster to run of 4.569 seconds. Fuller recorded the quickest elapsed time of the round.

The veteran NHRA competitor scored his sixth straight round win by powering to the win over the fan-favorite Australian driver. Fuller used a slight starting-line advantage to score the wire-to-wire victory. He piloted his Valvoline dragster to a run of 4.646 at 309.13, while Grubnic's rail slowed to a 5.393-second elapsed time. It is the second straight race where Fuller has knocked off Grubnic during eliminations.

In the semifinals, Fuller used a solid .050 (of-a-second) reaction time to speed to the early lead against Schumacher, but Fuller had to pedal the Valvoline dragster and slowed to a run of 4.879 seconds at 324.05 mph. Schumacher clocked a solid 4.647-second pass to advance to his first final-round appearance of the 2007 NHRA season.

"I'm really excited about our team," Fuller said. "I had never won a round at Gainesville and today we went to the semis again. It was a tough weekend. You have to qualify before you can go rounds. Look at what happened to Brandon (Bernstein). Qualifying is never a given.

"After we made that solid run in the first round, that took a lot of pressure off. Our confidence is growing as a team, and our teammate is doing well. You can't be disappointed over a semi. If you do that every race, you'll be the champion."

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 20th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals, March 30-April 1, at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas. Fuller qualified sixth at the Houston race last year.

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Rod Fuller , J.R. Todd