FULLER SUFFERS RARE FIRST-ROUND LOSS AT ATLANTA COMMERCE, Ga. (April 29, 2007) -- Rod Fuller experienced the highs and lows of NHRA drag racing this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. On Saturday afternoon, the four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner claimed...
FULLER SUFFERS RARE FIRST-ROUND LOSS AT ATLANTA
COMMERCE, Ga. (April 29, 2007) -- Rod Fuller experienced the highs and lows of NHRA drag racing this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. On Saturday afternoon, the four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner claimed his third career No. 1 qualifying award. A day later, the rising Top Fuel star was defeated in the opening round of eliminations of the 27th annual Southern Nationals.
Fuller powered his all-white, un-sponsored dragster to the top of the pack with a 4.506-second elapsed time on Friday evening at Atlanta Dragway to earn his third career pole. That pitted the Las Vegas racer against an unlikely No. 16 qualifier, 29-time NHRA winner and perennial title-contender Doug Kalitta. Competing in his 100th career round of Top Fuel competition, Fuller and Kalitta used nearly identical reaction times, but Fuller's white dragster lost traction early and slowed to a run of 7.103 seconds at 107.26 mph after dropping a cylinder. Kalitta cruised to a pass of 4.606 at 317.19 to earn the win light and trip to round two. Fuller has yet to win a round when starting from the No. 1 spot.
"I'm disappointed, but we're fortunate that the other contenders are going out early too," Fuller said. "On the other hand, we could have put some distance between us and them. It's just drag racing. You'll have good days and bad days. We'll learn from what happened. I don't regret being No. 1 (qualifier). We were running the car that was No. 2 in the world last year and one of the best drivers in the class. The field is so tight. There is no easy opponent. You just have to go out and win."
Fuller now sits second in the NHRA Top Fuel standings, trailing points leader Brandon Bernstein by 19 points. The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 11th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals, May 4-6, at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. Fuller earned his first career Top Fuel pole last June at the Madison race.