FULLER DRIVES TO RUNNER-UP FINISH AT JOLIET, REGAINS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2007) -- Rod Fuller regained his place atop the NHRA Top Fuel standings Sunday at Route 66 Raceway after driving his David Powers-owned Fabick CAT...
FULLER DRIVES TO RUNNER-UP FINISH AT JOLIET, REGAINS TOP FUEL POINTS LEAD
JOLIET, Ill. (June 10, 2007) -- Rod Fuller regained his place atop the NHRA Top Fuel standings Sunday at Route 66 Raceway after driving his David Powers-owned Fabick CAT dragster to a runner-up finish. It was his second final-round appearance of the season. He nowleads Brandon Bernstein by 31 points.
After qualifying his yellow-and-black Fabick CAT rail second with a career-best 4.464-second elapsed time, the rising Top Fuel star defeated Scott Palmer, nitro starlet Hillary Will, and Doug Foley before falling to two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon in the final round.
As the seventh pair of dragsters to battle the Route 66 Raceway quarter mile on Sunday morning, Fuller used a Rob Flynn tune-up to power the Fabick CAT rail to a wire-to-wire victory. The Las Vegas racer got the jump at the start and drove to a performance of 4.574 seconds at 326.32 mph to hold off Palmer's pass of 4.883-seconds. It was Fuller's 105th career round of Top Fuel competition.
The Arkansas earned his 60th career Top Fuel round win by edging Will in one of the closest matches of the day. Fuller got the jump and the start and powered the Fabick CAT rail to a run of 4.582 at 323.66 mph to earn the win light in the right lane at the Joliet track. Will clocked a quicker-but-losing pass of 4.557 at 327.35. It was his fifth career holeshot victory. The win moved Fuller back into the POWERade Top Fuel points lead.
In his sixth semifinal appearance of the 2007 season, Fuller used a consistent Flynn tune-up to drive the Fabick CAT dragster to its first final round and his second final-round appearance this year. He defeated Melanie Troxel in the final round at the Phoenix race to capture his fourth career Top Fuel victory. Fuller drove to a pass of 4.576 at 325.53 to knock off a tire-smoking Foley.
Fuller use his best reaction time of the day .029 (of-a-second) to jump to the early lead, but his yellow-and-black dragster lost traction early and slowed to a run of 9.155 seconds. Dixon sped to a consistent pass of 4.579 seconds to score his first victory of the season and 39th of his career, equaling NHRA great Kenny Bernstein for second on the Top Fuel win's list. It was Fuller's 10th career Top Fuel final round appearance.
"I thought it would be hard to come out of here with the points lead because Brandon (Bernstein) had a three-round lead and they've been really good, but when they didn't qualify, I knew we'd take the points lead back," Fuller said. "Other than not winning, the weekend couldn't have gone any better. We accomplished a lot. The most impressive run we made was that 4.50 on Friday afternoon. That would have qualified us fourth. We qualified well again, set a career-best E.T., went to the final, and got our lead back. It's all good.
"The biggest goal that we achieved is that we now have a good hot-weather tune-up. Not only can we run 4.40s, but good on hot, greasy tracks too. We went up there in the final and in typical Rob Flynn/Rod Fuller fashion; we wanted to make sure this car was going to be fast. We wanted to crush it and not back into the win. We had just too much CAT power. We'll learn from it. Running a guy like (Larry) Dixon, he's the best in the sport off the line. I was proud to leave the line first."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 37th annual Procare RX Nationals, June 21-24, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Fuller is the defending event champion of the Englishtown race. He defeated Dixon in the final round last June.
"We're the defending champion there. We ran really well there last year. We're going into the race with a lot of confidence. We backed up our Phoenix win from '06 with the win this year, so that's our goal at Englishtown too."