Fuller defeats Herbert, reaches quarterfinal SONOMA, Calif. (July 30) -- "Hot Rod" Fuller, driving the Lee Beard-tuned Valvoline Top Fuel dragster owned by David Powers, sent veteran Doug Herbert packing in the first round of final eliminations...
Fuller defeats Herbert, reaches quarterfinal
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30) -- "Hot Rod" Fuller, driving the Lee Beard-tuned Valvoline Top Fuel dragster owned by David Powers, sent veteran Doug Herbert packing in the first round of final eliminations of the Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals.
In front of one of the largest crowds this year, fourth-place qualifier Fuller held Herbert at bay from the moment the Christmas tree turned green.
"I've learned never to take anybody for granted," Fuller said. "We all go through a little bad luck now and then and Doug is going through a tough time right now. Sooner or later his luck is going to turn and whoever is next to him will feel pretty bad if there not on their game."
His opponent in quarterfinal competition was Doug Kalitta, who in past meetings this year was 3-2 against Fuller. In a race that came down to peddling the car through tire smoke at mid-track and drivers reaction times, Kalitta edged Fuller across the finish line in 4.943-seconds at 283 mph to Fuller's better 4.918 at 320.20 mph. The difference was Kalitta's sharp .031-second reaction time.
"The race could have gone either way," Fuller said. "Unfortunately, it just wasn't our day. Doug is a strong competitor. You don't get to be the points leader strictly through luck. He had his way with us today, we'll have ours next time."
Crew chief Lee Beard echoed those sentiments. "We know how tough those guys are so we had to tune the car to the edge," he said. "Obviously, they feel the same way about us since both cars went into tire smoke about the same time. This time they got the nod. Next time, we will."
After a grueling three-week Western Swing, teams will have next weekend off before making a stop in Brainerd, Minn., the next event on the 2006 POWERade Drag Racing Series.