Seattle: Rod Fuller final summary

Fuller edges upward in points with semifinal appearance SEATTLE (July 23) -- The Great Northwest is typically a place to escape the summer heat but not this weekend. With the sun baking the entire area the time was right for hot-track...

Fuller edges upward in points with semifinal appearance

SEATTLE (July 23) -- The Great Northwest is typically a place to escape the summer heat but not this weekend. With the sun baking the entire area the time was right for hot-track specialists "Hot Rod" Fuller and Lee Beard to make some headway in the NHRA POWERade points chase Sunday at Pacific Raceways.

In the first round of final eliminations at the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, Fuller lined his Valvoline/David Powers Motorsports Top Fuel dragster up against part-time racer Mike Strasburg. The Las Vegan quickly dismissed his rival in every measured category down the sun-soaked quarter-mile, stopping the timer at 4.655-seconds at 320.20 mph to Strasburg's labored 5.343.

The second round match-up pitted new points leader Doug Kalitta against Fuller. Once again, Fuller sent the Mac Tools team packing with a tire-smoking pass of 4.900 at 154.76 mph to Kalitta's 5.068 at 154.76 mph. The win however came at a price. A rare, broken, internal engine part sent the Fuller ride across the quarter-mile stripe in flames. Since the team has been one man short all weekend due to a skiing accident, time was tight and the 75-minute turnaround clock struck midnight just as the V-team finished putting the car back together.

"This Lee Beard bunch is just awesome," Fuller said. "To go this far, with one of our top crew members recovering in the hospital, shows just how deep this team really is. Look out Sonoma, we're on fire, literally and figuratively, and there's no stopping us now."

Fuller's winner's circle appearance will have to wait another week as David Grubnic sent the Las Vegas resident home after the Valvoline car started smoking the tires just past the 330 foot mark min the semifinals. With the win light glowing in Grubnic's lane and 4.808-seconds at 305.63 mph showing on the results board, Fuller's 5.151 at 259.26 dashed any hope of taking home the "Wally."

By advancing to Sunday's semifinal, Fuller was able to gain some ground in the hunt for the season championship moving up to the No. 6 spot.

The Western Swing concludes next weekend in Sonoma, Calif., with the Fram-Autolite NHRA nationals.

-dpm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Mike Strasburg , David Powers , Rod Fuller