Denver: Rod Fuller preview

Fiery Fuller focuses on Western Swing and beyond DENVER (July 6) -- Racing in his first full year on the POWERade NHRA tour, Top Fuel driver "Hot Rod" Fuller is a strong contender for the 2006 championship at the halfway point of the season.

Fiery Fuller focuses on Western Swing and beyond

DENVER (July 6) -- Racing in his first full year on the POWERade NHRA tour, Top Fuel driver "Hot Rod" Fuller is a strong contender for the 2006 championship at the halfway point of the season. The 35-year-old former sportsman all-star has won two races in his Valvoline/David Powers Homes dragster and finds himself fourth in the world rankings after 12 of 23 events.

"There is nothing in our way," Fuller said. "We have the car, a great crew, and a team owner in David Powers that gives us everything we need to succeed. We may have surprised a lot of people with our performance so far but everyone on this team already knew what we were capable of. Now the rest of the world is figuring it out."

With 11 races left on the schedule, Fuller is approximately 11 rounds of racing action behind season-long points leader Melanie Troxel. He knows the journey to the top must be taken in measured steps.

"You can't make it all up in one race," said Fuller, the Super Gas Driver of the Decade in the 1990s. "I've been driving long enough to know that the best way to make up ground is to stay steady and keep the pressure on the people in front of you. Our car has been consistently quick. Even when we have a bad weekend it's usually just been a case of rotten luck rather than an area where we're lacking in something.

"So far we've qualified in the top half of the ladder nine out of 12 times. That's a pretty good ratio. If we can concentrate on going rounds at each event, and eliminate those first-round losses that just crush you in the points, then we'll be there at the end. All you can ask for is a chance and we have a very legitimate chance right now."

Crew chief Lee Beard, a veteran tuner with 55 national event wins to his credit at the professional level, excels at hot racetracks. Therefore, he and Fuller are hoping the summer months live up to expectations and keep the other teams off balance.

"Lee's good wherever we go but when it takes a finesse tune-up, he seems to get even better," Fuller said. "His second race with us last year was in Memphis and it was by far the hottest race of the year and we won the thing. It was a battle of attrition and he survived because he stayed within his tune-up. I wouldn't want anyone else tuning my car, especially with the races we have ahead of us."

The NHRA tour next heads into the legendary Western Swing of consecutive events in Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma, Calif., before visiting Brainerd, Minn., Memphis, Tenn., and Indianapolis. First up is the 27th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 14-16, at Bandimere Speedway in Denver.

"The second half starts now and we're ready to go," Fuller said.

-dpm-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , David Powers , Rod Fuller