Sonoma: Rod Fuller preview

Fuller stabilizing position as title contender SONOMA, Calif. (July 25) -- Fresh off a strong semifinal finish in Seattle, "Hot Rod" Fuller and his Valvoline/David Powers Homes dragster arrive at Infineon Raceway in the heart of the world...

Fuller stabilizing position as title contender

SONOMA, Calif. (July 25) -- Fresh off a strong semifinal finish in Seattle, "Hot Rod" Fuller and his Valvoline/David Powers Homes dragster arrive at Infineon Raceway in the heart of the world renowned Northern California wine country with every intention of winning the 19th annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals.

While the spotlight has followed female pro Melanie Troxel, three-time champion Tony Schumacher, and current points leader Doug Kalitta for most of the season, Fuller and crew chief Lee Beard have been quietly staying in contention. Together, with the support of Houston homebuilder and former Funny Car star David Powers, they've amassed two victories, one runner-up and 11 top-half qualifying efforts in the first 14 races of the year.

"We've let our car do our talking for us," Fuller said. "And I believe it's saying that we're capable of winning any race. Seattle was a great run for us. We always want to win but to navigate a track that's hotter than it's ever been for an NHRA national event before and come out of there with a No. 2 qualifying effort and a final-four finish is stout.

"What really surprised us is how well we did in responding to some major adversity. As they chronicled on ESPN2, we lost our car chief John Boyce to a broken femur the day before the race started. It was a freak deal when we all went wakeboarding but it happened and we had to deal with it. To see the rest of the guys jump in without any complaints at all and fill the gaps was awesome. Even David Powers and our PR guy, Don Armstrong, were helping get the car prepared. That's teamwork."

The extra effort paid off and Fuller moved up a position in the world rankings to No. 6 overall. He's running so well now that he could leave Sonoma as high as third overall.

There are nine races left and we need to make up 12 rounds to win it all," Fuller said. "I see every elimination ladder as a chance to cut that number down. We want to race the people in front of us, that way we can control our own destiny. To be No. 1 you need to beat everyone else so I say bring them on, we're ready."

Powers Racing welcomes Western Stabilization to its team as an associate sponsor for this event. Western Stabilization is an earth stabilization company that works with various construction companies in the road building and site preparation arenas.

"I've known the Jeffery family for years and we're thrilled they're joining us for this event," Fuller said. "I know they're going to have a great time because this is probably the best track we go to. I also know they'll have an even better time if we win."

-dpm

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , David Powers , Rod Fuller