Phoenix: Rod Fuller final summary

FULLER DOMINATES THE DESERT, WINS SECOND STRAIGHT AT PHOENIX Leads POWERade Standings For The First Time CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Rod Fuller likes Arizona. The rising Top Fuel star claimed his second straight victory at ...

FULLER DOMINATES THE DESERT, WINS SECOND STRAIGHT AT PHOENIX
Leads POWERade Standings For The First Time

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) -- Rod Fuller likes Arizona. The rising Top Fuel star claimed his second straight victory at Firebird International Raceway Sunday during final eliminations of the 23rd annual CSK Nationals. Fuller ran his F.I.R. round win streak to 15. He joins Dick LaHaie and Brandon Bernstein as the only two Top Fuel drivers to win the Phoenix race in consecutive years. It is Fuller's fourth career Top Fuel win and 17th NHRA national event title.

Fuller, who leads second place racer Bernstein by 43 points, entered the day in the No. 2 qualifying slot with a career-best 4.471-second blast during qualifying on Friday afternoon. He knocked off No. 15 qualifier Dave Grubnic, Bob Vandergriff, Jr. and teammate Whit Bazemore before sneaking by Melanie Troxel in a rematch of the 2006 Top Fuel final.

The Las Vegas racer earned his 12th consecutive round win at F.I.R. by driving to a wire-to-wire win over the Australian native, Grubnic. Racing in the left lane, Fuller used Rob Flynn horsepower to blast to the quickest pass of his career, 4.466 seconds at 326.91, to defeat a tire-smoking Grubnic. Fuller bettered his previous personal best E.T., 4.471 seconds, which he clocked on his first qualifying run of the weekend.

The decorated NHRA sportsmen competitor advanced to the semifinals for the second consecutive race of '07 and ran his F.I.R. round-win streak to 13 by knocking off Vandergriff and the UPS team in the quarterfinals. Fuller used more of that "Canadian Power" from Flynn to card a stout 4.476 at 328.14 in the Valvoline rail. Vandergriff slowed to a run of 5.253 seconds. It was Fuller's third 4.4-second E.T. of the weekend and the third quickest run of his career.

The veteran NHRA racer powered to his second consecutive final round appearance at the Phoenix-area track by knocking off his teammate for the second straight race. After meeting in the quarterfinals of the season-opening Winternationals, Fuller faced off against the 20-time NHRA winner again, this time for a trip to the money round. Both the Valvoline and Matco Tools teams put on a great show until Bazemore's car spun the tires allowing Fuller to cruise to the victory with a run of 4.525 at 326.87. That gave Fuller lane choice over Troxel, who carded a time of 4.539 seconds in a semifinal victory over Tony Schumacher.

In his ninth career final round, the longtime Valvoline driver used a slight reaction time advantage to race to the wire-to-wire win and a fourth career trip to the Top Fuel winner's circle. The Flynn-tuned red, white and blue car clocked a run of 4.490 at 327.19 to edge Troxel, who earned a time of 4.536 at 325.61.

"How cool is this to be back in the winner's circle in Arizona," Fuller said. "Going into the final, I knew I was going for 15 straight rounds wins here. I was thinking, is this going to end? When it made it through the wiggle part of the track at about 300-feet, I knew it made it.

"We finished last season really strong, and now I have an entirely new race crew except for two guys. My group has really gelled and they've done it right away. It's amazing! The way Rob Flynn is tuning this car, I'd buy stock in him. This really is one team with two race cars. After we beat Whit (Bazemore), Lee Beard and all the Matco guys were over helping our team. Now, we're going to Gainesville with the points lead. We've got a great team. I'm confident that we can win the championship."

-credit: dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Tony Schumacher , Dick LaHaie , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , Bob Vandergriff , Rod Fuller