Bristol: Rod Fuller final report

POINTS-LEADER FULLER POWERS TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT THUNDER VALLEY BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his David Powers Motorsports team continued its consistent performance Sunday at Bristol Dragway. The rising Top Fuel star powered...

POINTS-LEADER FULLER POWERS TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT THUNDER VALLEY

BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his David Powers Motorsports team continued its consistent performance Sunday at Bristol Dragway. The rising Top Fuel star powered his un-sponsored, plain white dragster to a semifinal finish at the seventh annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals. Through the midway point of the 2007 NHRA season, Fuller holds a 74-point margin over second-place driver Brandon Bernstein.

After racing to the No. 4 qualifying position for the second time this season (Topeka) with a 4.592-second elapsed time, Fuller knocked off Tennessee racer Clay Millican, and category-elite Doug Kalitta, before losing traction and falling to Bob Vandergriff, Jr. in the semifinals.

As the last pair of dragster to battle the hot, tricky Bristol Dragway quarter mile in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations, Fuller used a conservative Rob Flynn tune-up to score the round win. The Las Vegas racer sped to a run of 4.699 seconds at 308.28 mph to hold off Millican. The fellow Matco Tools driver clocked a run of 5.021 at 234.45 mph after his dragster lost traction down track.

For the second straight week, two of the best drivers in drag racing's premier category did battle on race day. Fuller earned the trip to the semifinals after Kalitta fouled at the start. Fuller used a Flynn tune-up to cruise to low elapsed time of the round, 4.662 at 314.53, to card lane choice in the semifinals. It marked the third straight year that Fuller and Kalitta have met during eliminations. The past two seasons, Kalitta defeated Fuller in the final round at Bristol Dragway. They now have a 2-2 head-to-head mark this season.

Competing in the semifinals for the eighth time in 12 races this season, Fuller's all-white rail uncharacteristically smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle against the North Carolina racer. The points leader coasted to a time of 11.223 at 81.85, while Vandergriff raced to his second final round of the season after clocking a run of 4.747 at 284.87. It is the first time in three tries that Fuller didn't advance to the final round at Bristol Dragway.

"I thought it was a good overall weekend," Fuller said. "These are the weekends that make champions. I thought it was our day to win. The car ran well. We set low E.T. of the quarterfinals. We were confident and felt like if we didn't make a mistake we'd win, but the car just didn't hook up. Our heads are high and we're excited to be going rounds and adding those points."

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Doug Kalitta , Bob Vandergriff , David Powers , Rod Fuller