CAREER BESTS HIGHLIGHT HOUSTON DEBUT FOR POWERS MOTORSPORTS TOP FUEL TEAM BAYTOWN, TX 4/10/05 The David Powers Motorsports Top Fuel dragster had a successful outing at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, TX...
CAREER BESTS HIGHLIGHT HOUSTON DEBUT FOR POWERS MOTORSPORTS TOP FUEL TEAM
BAYTOWN, TX 4/10/05 The David Powers Motorsports Top Fuel dragster had a successful outing at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, TX this weekend. Appearing in front of a home town crowd the David Powers Homes-backed machine, driven by "Hot Rod" Fuller of Las Vegas, qualified in the top half of the field in only its third outing. "We're extremely pleased with the way the car performed," said David Powers, a custom home builder in Houston. "This is only the third race our team has been out there, but we can clearly see that progress is being made. I think our entire team, from Rod Fuller, our driver, to our crew chief, Richard Hogan, and on down to every man who works on this team, pulled together exceptionally well. We're still a long way from where we want to be, but after only three races, I think we're getting there."
For Fuller the weekend was almost a complete success. His qualifying effort of 4.566 seconds at 322.11 MPH was a career best for the winner of 13 NHRA national events in the sportsman ranks. For tuner Hogan, Fuller's qualifying time was a bit of a surprise. "We had the engine set up pretty much like we did at the Gatornationals in Florida a few weeks ago, but it went even quicker than we thought it would. I agree with David in that we're making progress. We've qualified well at every race we've competed in thus far, but we want to win, not just be part of the show."
The team was more than "part of the show" during eliminations, thanks in no small measure to Hogan's tuning skills and Fuller's excellence behind the wheel. Facing four-time IHRA World Champion Clay Millican in the first round Fuller notched a competitive 4.587/319.67 as the 104 Octane-plus machine smoked the tires in a losing effort. "That was really something," admitted Fuller after the run. "I know this might be hard to believe, but that was my first-ever round win in Top Fuel!" Fuller lost in the first round of both previous national events the David Powers Motorsports/Valvoline Special had qualified for this season, and during his very limited "early" Top Fuel career in the mid-90s he'd also lost in the first round of the five races he'd qualified for.
In the second round Fuller again faced NHRA POWERade champion Tony Schumacher in the U.S. Army-backed dragster, the driver who'd defeated him at the Gatornationals in the first round. Unfortunately for Fuller and the team, Schumacher again got to the finish line first, but this time around a mechanical problem slowed the car's initial launch off the starting line, but despite that problem, Fuller once again sped to career bests of 4.560 seconds at 327.51 miles per hour. "Now, that was a ride," Fuller said, adding, "No matter how good that felt to me, we still lost, and that's what counts."
Crew chief Hogan says that in studying the information gleaned from the on-board computer there seemed to be some problem with car's initial fuel delivery, which slowed the car's 60-foot time considerably. "I'm pretty sure this is a minor glitch that we can fix before next weekend, so we should be okay in Las Vegas." The team will be competing at the NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend.
"Were we excited? You're darn right we were," admitted Powers from his pit area following the race. "Again, as I said earlier, our gang is heading in the right direction, and we couldn't be happier. I can't wait for Las Vegas next weekend.
"That's also going to be a special weekend for Rod, because he lives in Las Vegas, so just as this weekend was a homecoming of sorts for the team, next weekend it's Rod's turn, and I know we'll be giving him a car capable of winning."