"Hot" Rod Fuller Ready To Get '07 Started At National Time Trials CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 22, 2007) -- Rod Fuller surprised many with his fifth-place finish in the NHRA Top Fuel standings last season, including himself. The seasoned sportsmen ...
"Hot" Rod Fuller Ready To Get '07 Started At National Time Trials
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 22, 2007) -- Rod Fuller surprised many with his fifth-place finish in the NHRA Top Fuel standings last season, including himself. The seasoned sportsmen competitor was confident in his ability to drive a race car, but had yet to complete a full season behind the wheel of his 8,000 horsepower Valvoline rail.
Fuller and his Lee Beard-led race team proved they would be a potent presence when "Hot" Rod knocked off Melanie Troxel at the season's second race to claim his second career Top Fuel victory. It didn't stop there as the Las Vegas resident also won at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. and advanced to three more final rounds en route to a top five finish for the David Powers Motorsports team.
"My realistic goal was to win a few races, which we did," Fuller said. "We were in six finals counting the Budweiser Shootout at Vegas. That's a lot of final rounds. I know we were capable of it, but it was our first year as a full-time team, and my first full season as a driver."
With that first full year at the sports top level in the past, the 35-year-old racer is even more determined to prove that his name should be mentioned among the category elite such as Larry Dixon, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher. Although there were a few bumps along the way, Fuller believes he's now a much better driver and more comfortable than just one year ago.
"First off, I had some personal issues I fought through early in the year," Fuller said. "This off season, I've concentrated hard on my training and with the practice tree. Those things should help me become a better race car driver. I feel super comfortable inside the race car and with having a second car and teammate I really believe it will make our entire team stronger."
Fuller and new teammate Whit Bazemore -- who makes the switch from Funny Car to Top Fuel -- will make their 2007 debuts when both the Valvoline and Matco Tools dragsters hit the track on Friday afternoon during the National Time Trials at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix. Fuller has won 11 consecutive rounds at the Phoenix track following victories in 2005 and '06, so he couldn't think of a better place to get the '07 season started off on the right foot.
"We won at Phoenix last February, so that gives us confidence going into testing," Fuller said. "That's a good race track for me. I won there in Super Gas in 2005, so I do well there. My car is like a bracket car running in the low 4.50s. Now, Lee (Beard) and Rob's (Flynn) goal is to make the car run 4.40s. Later in the week, if the weather and track hold out, we want to run some 4.40s. I'm excited to get back in the car."