Gainesville: Rod Fuller preview

After getting his fill of well-deserved praise, Fuller ready to race again GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) -- Top Fuel driver "Hot Rod" Fuller couldn't have picked a better time to win his second race of his brief NHRA Pro career. By capturing...

After getting his fill of well-deserved praise, Fuller ready to race again

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 14) -- Top Fuel driver "Hot Rod" Fuller couldn't have picked a better time to win his second race of his brief NHRA Pro career. By capturing the crown of the CSK Nationals on Feb. 26 in Phoenix, the driver of David Powers' Valvoline dragster has been able to revel in the win for three full weeks -- the longest stretch of time between races on the '06 schedule.

"It's been an awesome break," Fuller said from his Las Vegas home. "It really happened at a perfect time for me because the NASCAR race was in town last weekend and all of our sponsors were there. Everyone was so happy for us and I got to share in the celebration of our team's win over and over throughout the weekend.

"Then we went down to the garage and pit area and all the crew chiefs and drivers down there came over to congratulate me. It's really cool when Ray Evernham stops and tells you 'good job.' That blew me away. It turns out those guys watch drag racing just like we watch NASCAR races. They were kidding me about beating a girl (Melanie Troxel) in the finals."

Like the rest of the NHRA nitro-powered racers, Fuller and crew chief Lee Beard will switch to a new Goodyear tire in Gainesville. The tire is one they tested with in the off-season and again after their win in Phoenix so the team feels confident in making the mandated switch to new rubber.

"We did great with it," Fuller said. "In fact, the last pass we made the Tuesday after Phoenix, our incremental numbers were better than anything we ran during the race. Lee thinks it will be better and safer in the long run. You just have to be more aggressive with it down low to get it going."

Fuller enters the first east coast race of the season a career-best second in the POWERade championship points chase. He trails Melanie Troxel by just 14 points, a deficit that can be erased in one round on Sunday.

"We're confident in what we can do and I think the rest of the class knows what we're all about as well," Fuller said. "I've enjoyed every minute of this long break but I'm happy to get back after it now. We're ready to race."

-dpm-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ray Evernham , Melanie Troxel , David Powers , Rod Fuller