Valvoline Racing Top Fuel team has winning on its mind INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31) -- Valvoline Racing crew chief Lee Beard is excited about his team's chances at the upcoming 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and for good reason. Beard and...
Valvoline Racing Top Fuel team has winning on its mind
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 31) -- Valvoline Racing crew chief Lee Beard is excited about his team's chances at the upcoming 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and for good reason. Beard and team owner David Powers debuted a new chassis two races ago in Brainerd, Minn., and the results have left them dreaming of a trophy run at the world's most prestigious and longest-running drag race.
"We put a lot of time and effort into this new chassis and since we've put it on the racetrack it certainly hasn't disappointed us," Beard said. "Already, in just two events, we have a semi-final finish and a No. 1 qualifying effort to our credit so it looks like the car is doing exactly what we wanted it to do. It's exciting."
In preparation for the U.S. Nationals, Beard took his team and driver "Hot Rod" Fuller to O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis last week for a quick test session. They ended up being the third quickest car on the property with a best elapsed time of 4.536 seconds, and the second fastest overall with a top speed of 329.75 mph.
"The thing that got my attention is that we were able to post those numbers in the heat of the day," Beard said. "We have run well all summer, especially where it's been hot, so we wouldn't mind it at all if Labor Day weekend was warm.
"I've won this event for several drivers both in Top Fuel and Funny Car and based on that past experience and the way we're running at the moment, I'd say we have a strong chance of winning this weekend. Rod has really matured as a driver and is capable of winning any event so we just need to execute."
"Our car has been running very strong, especially when it's been hot, so we fully expect to be in the mix at Indy," Fuller said. "And I'm not just talking about qualifying; I'm talking about getting ourselves in contention to win the event.
ESPN2 will carry 10 hours of U.S. Nationals coverage. Qualifying highlights will run from 11 p.m.-12 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 2, 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 3, and 11 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 3. There will be two separate shows of race day coverage including a 12 p.m.-2:30 p.m. broadcast, Monday, Sept. 4, and a later 4 p.m.-7 p.m. show, also on Monday, Sept. 4. All times listed are Eastern.