Rick Fuller Retires From NASCAR Modified Racing; Massachusetts Driver Won 20 Races, 1993 Series Title DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 12, 2008) -- Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Rick Fuller brought to a close one of the most ...
Rick Fuller Retires From NASCAR Modified Racing; Massachusetts Driver Won 20 Races, 1993 Series Title
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 12, 2008) -- Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Rick Fuller brought to a close one of the most successful driving careers in the 24-year history of the tour with the announcement that he has retired from racing.
Fuller, of Auburn, Mass., made his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut in the series' inaugural race on March 31, 1985 at Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway with a 13th place finish in the Icebreaker. Ultimately, Thompson became the site of his last race when was caught up in an early accident and came home 30th in the No. 77 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Modified in the Xtra Mart World Series on Oct. 19.
Fuller compiled 20 wins, 145 top fives, 231 top 10s and 11 Coors Light Pole Awards in 439 career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour starts. His win total ranks seventh in tour history.
Fuller got his start in weekly series action. He won Late Model championships at Westboro (Mass.) Speedway in 1980 and at Thompson in 1982. Fuller later moved on to the Modified division where he captured the Thompson track title in 1985.
"Early on in my career, winning really wasn't that big of an effort," Fuller said. "It wasn't uncommon in the first few years that I started out racing for me to win 30 or 40 feature events. Once I moved solely into the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, it was a humbling experience. To win just one or two races a year was huge. To actually win the championship was a monster accomplishment."
The highlight of Fuller's distinguished career was his championship season of 1993. A year after his brother, Jeff, had captured the title, Fuller strung together a win and 14 top 10s in 17 starts to finish 93 points ahead of Reggie Ruggiero for the crown.
As part of NASCAR's celebration of 60 Years of Modified Champions, Fuller was honored at Thompson prior to the Sunoco Modified Mania 150 on Sept. 7.
Fuller, voted the series' Most Popular Driver in 2000, is one of just three drivers to have made starts in each of the first 24 years of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour along with Carl Pasteryak and Jamie Tomaino.
"The past couple of years Toyota Certified Used Vehicles had the confidence to back me in an attempt to run for another championship and I have to thank them and the Curt Chase family for doing the same," Fuller said. "The championship I won in 1993 was with the No. 77 team, and for them to have the confidence in me to make another run at that meant an awful lot to me."
While Fuller hasn't necessarily lost the drive to compete, there are a number of reasons why 2008 became a good time to close the book on his racing career.
Fuller has kids of his own who are at the beginning of their racing careers, and he has also started to turn his attention toward supporting them.
"I had a really good run at this and I had a lot of fun, but right now I'm looking at other opportunities in racing," Fuller said. "My son, Alex, is racing Quarter Midgets at the "Little T" at Thompson and my daughter, Meghan, says she wants to start, and that will probably occupy a lot of my time."
While the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season will be the last full-time run of Fuller's distinguished career, he didn't necessarily close the door on his availability for a spot start or part-time ride in the future.