FULLER RACES TO SEMIS AT SEATTLE, CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN KENT, Wash. (July 22, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his David Powers-owned team just keep going rounds. The POWERade points leader advanced to the semifinals for the 10th time in 14 races ...
FULLER RACES TO SEMIS AT SEATTLE, CLINCHES SPOT IN COUNTDOWN
KENT, Wash. (July 22, 2007) -- Rod Fuller and his David Powers-owned team just keep going rounds. The POWERade points leader advanced to the semifinals for the 10th time in 14 races Sunday at Pacific Raceways. He became the first Top Fuel driver to earn a position in NHRA's new Countdown to the Championship format.
Starting from his lowest position of the season, 14th, Fuller knocked off No. 3 qualifier Clay Millican, and veteran racer Doug Herbert, before falling to second-place driver Brandon Bernstein in the semifinals.
With just one crack at the tricky Pacific Raceways quarter mile during qualifying due to persistent rain showers on Friday and Saturday, Fuller was the only car to win in the right lane during the opening round of eliminations. Two of the better leavers in the Top Fuel category, they used nearly identical reaction times as Fuller drove his plain white rail to a pass of 4.552 seconds at 325.53 to outdistance Millican. The Tennessee racer posted a time of 4.727-seconds. The win clinched a position in the Countdown to Four in NHRA's Countdown to the Championship. Fuller becomes the first Top Fuel driver to earn a spot in the new eight-car playoff system.
Fuller had to play follow the leader in round two as Herbert used the second best reaction time of the round to race to the early lead. It was short lived as Fuller sped to a consistent pass of 4.586 at 322.11 to earn his sixth consecutive round victory. Herbert's red dragster lost traction and slowed to a 10.573-second pass.
Competing in the semifinals for the 10th time this season, the young Top Fuel guns used nearly identical reaction times before Fuller's all-white rail lost traction and slowed to a 10.573-second pass. Bernstein's bright red rail powered to a pass of 4.536 at 325.61 to advance to the final round.
"I came back and the guys were down, but there's no reason to hang our heads," Fuller said. "We were the only car in the right lane to win first round. I'm so proud of Rob Flynn and the team and Lee Beard and the Matco team too. They helped us and the team concept helped us prepare our car for first round.
"I'm the first driver ever to clinch a spot in the Countdown. Our goal now is to make sure we go into the chase ranked number one. We might not win the Western Swing, but we're going to try and make it two out of three at Sonoma."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 19th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals, July 27-29, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.