FULLER BLASTS MONOSTRUT-EQUIPPED RAIL TO 4.49-SECOND PASS TO COMPLETE TESTING AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2007) -- Rod Fuller, the defending Top Fuel winner of the NHRA event at Firebird International Raceway, turned heads last...
FULLER BLASTS MONOSTRUT-EQUIPPED RAIL TO 4.49-SECOND PASS TO COMPLETE TESTING AT FIREBIRD RACEWAY
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2007) -- Rod Fuller, the defending Top Fuel winner of the NHRA event at Firebird International Raceway, turned heads last season by racing his Valvoline dragster to a fifth-place finish in the NHRA standings. Over the weekend, the Arkansas native raised more than few eyebrows when his David Powers Motorsports team debuted the latest version of a Top Fuel dragster equipped with a monostrut rear wing during the National Time Trials at the Phoenix track.
The three-time NHRA Top Fuel winner became the first driver to record a 4.4-second elapsed time with a monostrut wing as the Valvoline team completed preseason testing on Wednesday afternoon at Firebird Raceway. On his only attempt of the day, the veteran racer used a tune-up from crew chief Rob Flynn to power his Valvoline/Matco Toolsdragster to a performance of 4.490 seconds at 313 mph. Fuller lifted early on the run. On his only other full pass of the six-day test, Fuller carded a run of 4.530, 326. Tuesday's action was washed out due to rain.
"Our objective was to run an entirely new design with the wing, along with testing some new parts on the car," Fuller said. We couldn't go out and run down the track. We had to take it slow. I feel confident that we can run a mid-4.40. The Matco team had a new driver, so they had to get him comfortable also. Both of our team's had goals to accomplish and I think we did that.
"Coming out of testing, I'm super-confident that we're where we need to be going into Pomona next weekend. I know we can run 4.40s. Pomona is a better track. Just like at the end of last season, I really believe this is a championship-caliber team. We have all the parts, pieces and people in place. And, I think my ability as a driver is there to fight for the championship. That 4.49 lets people know we can run those numbers. We went the entire 2006 season without running a .40, so I'm excited."
Fuller's 4.490-second blast on Wednesday was the quickest pass of his career. His personal-best elapsed time is 4.493-seconds, which he posted at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas in 2005. With new components on the race car, along with the addition of the monostrut wing, crew chief Rob Flynn is happy with the progress of the Valvoline/Vintage Designcrew.
"Hopefully we accomplished getting the monostrut legal for NHRA competition," Flynn said. "It was a very productive test because we were able to get our two race cars to be close in performance. Both cars are capable of running 4.40s and that's important. We got both cars up to speed and got the crews working together, which was key because we have a lot of new crew members this season after adding the second car."
The team will spend the next two days working at the Phoenix track as they prepare for the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The '07 NHRA season kicks-off Feb. 8-11 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona with the 47th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals. Last February, Fuller qualified fifth (4.518 seconds) at the '06 season-opener en route to a quarterfinal finish. He earned two victories (Phoenix and Englishtown) in five final-round appearances last year.