FULLER DRIVES CAT DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2008) -- Rod Fuller raced his David Powers-owned Caterpillar dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Firebird International Raceway. The six-time Top Fuel...
FULLER DRIVES CAT DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINALS AT PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2008) -- Rod Fuller raced his David Powers-owned Caterpillar dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at Firebird International Raceway. The six-time Top Fuel winner and his Caterpillar team now rank fifth in the POWERade Top Fuel standings.
After qualifying in the bottom half of the field, 10th, the Las Vegas race was back to his old tricks of going rounds on race day. Fuller held off No. 6 qualifier J.R. Todd in the opening round and Utah racer Mike Strasburg before smoking the tires and losing to David Grubnic in the semifinals. The loss broke Fuller's 17-round win streak at Firebird International Raceway.
Fuller ran his consecutive-round win steak at F.I.R. to 16 rounds by edging the 2006 NHRA Rookie of the Year in the first round. Starting from the bottom half of the field, Fuller had to compete out of the left lane at Firebird Raceway. That proved to be no problem for the Rob Flynn-led team as Fuller raced his Caterpillar dragster to a pass of 4.562 seconds at 319.67 mph to hold off Todd's run of 4.642 at 294.82. Fuller was one of just two drivers (Mike Strasburg) to win out of the left lane in the opening round.
The University of Arkansas graduate equaled the quickest time of the round in the quarterfinals. Fuller used Flynn's "Canadian Horsepower" to pull away from the part time Top Fuel competitor. The Caterpillar rail sped to a pass of 4.491 at 328.22 to defeat Strasburg's time of 4.982 at 217.98. It was Fuller's second 4.4-second pass during eliminations this season. Last year at the CSK Nationals, he clocked three 4.4-second elapsed times on race day.
Facing off against Grubnic for the second straight race, the two drivers recorded the same elapsed time in the quarterfinals, but Fuller got the nod for lane choice by virtue of a better speed. Fuller drove the CAT car to the early lead with a starting line advantage, but the yellow-and-black rail soon lost traction and slowed to a pass of 9.259 at 87.37. Grubnic clocked low E.T. of the round at 4.519 at 332.26 to advance to the final round.
"We had a run that could potentially be the low E.T. of the event again and we just want to start a new streak at Gainesville," Fuller said. "We fought through some adversity this week, but we feel like we got a handle on it. We're solidly in the top 10 and that's what you need to do with this Countdown. We want to win races, but the main objective is to get our car consistent to win the Countdown and the championship."