Norwalk: Rod Fuller final report

POINTS-LEADER FULLER RACES TO RUNNER-UP FINISH AT NORWALK, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD IN TOP FUEL STANDINGS NORWALK, Ohio (July 1, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his un-sponsored Rob Flynn-led race team continue to be the class of NHRA's Top Fuel division....

POINTS-LEADER FULLER RACES TO RUNNER-UP FINISH AT NORWALK, EXTENDS POINTS LEAD IN TOP FUEL STANDINGS

NORWALK, Ohio (July 1, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his un-sponsored Rob Flynn-led race team continue to be the class of NHRA's Top Fuel division. The rising Top Fuel star extended his points lead Sunday afternoon at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park after racing to his third final-round appearance of the season.

After earning his fifth career pole and third pole of the 2007 NHRA season, the POWERade Top Fuel points leader edged Melanie Troxel, fan-favorite David Grubnic, and perennial title-contender Doug Kalitta, before bowing out to four-time NHRA champion Tony Schumacher in the final round.

The rising Top Fuel star used a starting line advantage in his plain white dragster to score the wire-to-wire victory against Troxel. Fuller used a Rob Flynn tune-up to clock a run of 4.664 seconds at 313.07 mph to narrowly defeat Troxel and her run of 4.666 at 316.01. It is the second straight time that Fuller has won his first round match-up when starting on pole.

The Las Vegas racer advanced to the semifinals for the seventh time this season by blistering the Norwalk quarter mile to low elapsed time of the quarterfinals. Fuller used Flynn horsepower to card a run of 4.552 at 322.73 to score the win in his all-white rail. Grubnic's car lost traction early and coasted to an 11-second pass.

Accomplishing something most drivers don't, Fuller got a slight starting line advantage against the elite Top Fuel racer and drove to his third final-round appearance of the season and 11th of his brief professional career. The white Flynn-tuned rail cruised to a run of 4.738 at 314.17, while Kalitta's bright red dragster lost traction and slowed to a pass of 5.209 at 215.75. It was just Fuller's third win in 10 matches versus the Michigan racer.

In his second career final-round match versus Schumacher, Fuller used a huge holeshot to get the jump at the start, but his all-white dragster lost traction and slowed to a run of 7.087 at 114.49, while the Alan Johnson-tuned rail raced to low E.T. of the day, 4.537 seconds, to earn the victory. It is Fuller's second runner-up finish this season. He now leads second-place racer Larry Dixon by 98 points.

"To set the track record and get to the final round at the first race at Norwalk is really good," Fuller said. "A lot of people say we mess up in the final round, but we're just really aggressive. It was a good weekend for our team. We set the track record, qualified No. 1, extended our points lead and went to another final round. We have a lot of confidence.

"I'm a little upset with myself. I did something stupid before the second round. I had to use the bathroom before our race and I jumped a six-foot fence and when I landed I heard a loud pop in my left knee. I re-aggravated my knee. I hurt it in Hawaii in February. I just have to suck it up and race."

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the Seventh annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, July 6-8, at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. Fuller has advanced to the final round at Bristol Dragway the past two seasons.

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Melanie Troxel , Rod Fuller