St. Louis: Rod Fuller final report

FULLER USES CAT POWER TO WIN AT GATEWAY MADISON, Ill. (May 4, 2008) -- Rod Fuller was hot Sunday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway as the popular racer scored his seventh career victory by edging rival Tony Schumacher in the final...

FULLER USES CAT POWER TO WIN AT GATEWAY

MADISON, Ill. (May 4, 2008) -- Rod Fuller was hot Sunday afternoon at Gateway International Raceway as the popular racer scored his seventh career victory by edging rival Tony Schumacher in the final round of the 12th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals near St. Louis. It was the 20th career NHRA national event victory for Fuller who also earned 13 wins in the Super Comp and Super Gas categories.

Fuller, who qualified eighth this weekend with an elapsed time of 4.541 seconds on Friday, defeated 30-time Top Fuel winner Cory McClenathan, low qualifier David Grubnic, perennial title contender Doug Kalitta, and five-time series champion Tony Schumacher in the final round.

Fuller was matched up against McClenathan in the opening round for the second time this season (Houston). The veteran racers used nearly identical reaction times at the start, but Fuller used a Rob Flynn tune-up to race the Caterpillar/Valvoline dragster to low elapsed time of the round. Fuller's rail clocked a pass of 4.530 seconds at 328.50 mph to defeat the tire-smoking FRAM dragster. Fuller is now 4-6 in his career against McClenathan.

Fuller used another consistent Flynn tune-up to race the Caterpillar/Matco Tools car into the semifinals for the second straight event. Fuller used a slight starting line advantage to race to the wire-to-wire victory over the No. 1 qualifier. The Caterpillar dragster turned in a run of 4.570 at 325.45 to hold off Grubnic, who clocked a pass of 5.074 seconds in his black dragster. Fuller recorded low E.T. and top speed of the round. The No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel has yet to advance past the second round of eliminations this season.

Matched up against Kalitta for the first time this season, Fuller raced the Caterpillar rail to its first final round appearance of the 2008 season. The Las Vegas racer got a slight jump at the start and never looked back roaring to a pass of 4.591 at 320.51 to advance to his 15th career professional final round. Kalitta's dragster lost traction early and slowed to a pass of 6.202 seconds. The win was Fuller's 95th career round win.

Competing in his 15th career final round, two of the elite drivers in the sport used solid reaction times to put on a great show for the fans at Gateway International Raceway. Fuller used Flynn's "Canadian Horsepower" to clock the quickest pass of the day en route to his seventh career Top Fuel win. The Caterpillar dragster posted a pass of 4.525 at 328.70 to edge Schumacher's run of 4.583 at 325.45 in the U.S. Army dragster. It was the third win in four races for the David Powers Motorsports team. Fuller now ranks fourth in the NHRA Top Fuel standings.

"Any time you beat the (U.S.) Army car, you're fired up," Fuller said. "I've had a chip on my shoulder with the way things played out last season, so it does feel really great to beat them. How about this David Powers Motorsports team? Four straight finals with three wins is just awesome.

"I have to dedicate this win to two things. This is the fourth anniversary of the death of Darrell Russell. Darrell and his brother, Chris, partnered with David Powers with the idea of starting a Top Fuel team and they hired me. It was an honor to get that call to drive their car. I'm going to dedicate this win to the Russell family. I also had to fight tears at the top end because this was the first race my mom has seen me win in Top Fuel. She hasn't been in great health and when I got out of the car, she was in tears. If it wasn't for my mom and dad, I wouldn't be here. What a great day."

-credit: dpm

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , David Powers , Rod Fuller