Las Vegas II: Rod Fuller final summary

"Hot" Rod Fuller Races to Semifinal Finish at The Strip LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2006) -- "Hot" Rod Fuller used his driving prowess to race his Valvoline Top Fuel dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor...

"Hot" Rod Fuller Races to Semifinal Finish at The Strip

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2006) -- "Hot" Rod Fuller used his driving prowess to race his Valvoline Top Fuel dragster to a semifinal finish Sunday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. It was his fourth semifinal finish of the season.

After qualifying his David Powers-owned Valvoline Top Fuel dragster in the No. 10 position with a 4.571-second elapsed time, the local fan favorite was pitted against No. 7 qualifier Melanie Troxel in the opening round of eliminations. The Las Vegas racer then edged 2003 NHRA Rookie of the Year Brandon Bernstein in a close race before falling to 2006 Rookie of the Year front-runner J.R. Todd in the semifinals.

Fuller used his trademark quick reactions to get the early lead while racing to the wire-to-wire victory over the popular second generation racer and 2006 Sportswoman of the Year. Fuller's Lee Beard-tuned rail powered to a performance of 4.569 seconds at 325.92 mph to narrowly edge Troxel's pass of 4.567 seconds. It was the sixth time they have met during eliminations this season.

Fuller again used his holeshot magic to earn the quarterfinal victory over the championship-contender and second generation Top Fuel pilot. Fuller blistered The Strip at LVMS quarter mile in 4.579 at 327.03 to card the round win over Bernstein, who clocked a run of 4.564 at 326.79 in his trademark red dragster. It was second consecutive holeshot victory for the former NHRA sportsmen competitor. J Fuller got the jump at the start in his semifinal match-up against Todd, but a faulty burst panel caused the Valvoline dragster to lose power and coast to the finish line in 22-seconds. The rookie Top Fuel racer drove his dragster to a pass of 4.582 seconds to advance to his fourth final round of the season.

"I felt like I was more on top of my game this race," Fuller said. "I think it was a combination of things, it's home, I wanted to win really badly, and the Budweiser Shootout. I've got some newfound confidence. My guys have been saying I have a swagger to me since Dallas. I really feel like I'm in there with the best in Top Fuel. It takes some time, but I feel really comfortable in the car. It's really coming natural to me now.

"We lost both races this weekend due to parts failures. We broke a burst panel, a $40 part, in the semis. Nothing else was wrong, just a faulty part. We're going to keep our heads up and try and win the last race of the year at Pomona (Calif.) in two weeks. We gained some points on fourth place, so that's our goal."

Fuller remains fifth in the POWERade Top Fuel standings. The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 9-12, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

-credit: dpm

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , David Powers , Rod Fuller , J.R. Todd