FULLER RACES TO SEMIS AT ST. LOUIS, REGAINS POINTS LEAD MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) -- "Hot" Rod Fuller just continues to go rounds. The four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time this season Sunday at Gateway...
FULLER RACES TO SEMIS AT ST. LOUIS, REGAINS POINTS LEAD
MADISON, Ill. (May 6, 2007) -- "Hot" Rod Fuller just continues to go rounds. The four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner advanced to the semifinals for the fifth time this season Sunday at Gateway International Raceway, this time at the wheel of the Fabick CAT dragster. Fuller also regained the points lead and again sits atop the NHRA Top Fuel standings.
After capturing his fourth career pole and second consecutive No. 1 qualifying spot at the St. Louis race with a 4.596-second effort during qualifying, the Las Vegas racer bested No. 16 qualifier Doug Herbert in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations. He then edged six-time IHRA champion Clay Millican before losing a wild tire-smoking race to 29-time NHRA winner Cory McClenathan.
In the opening stanza, Fuller and Herbert used nearly identical reaction times, but the Rob Flynn tune-up was too much as the rising Top Fuel star sped to low elapsed time of the round. Fuller powered the Fabick CAT dragster to a pass of 4.574 seconds at 325.22 mph to earn the win light. Herbert's colorful rail lost traction and slowed to 6.141-second lap. It was Fuller's 101st career professional round of competition and 57th round win. It was his first career round win winning starting on pole.
With the points lead back in hand, the longtime Arkansas resident advanced to the semifinals for the eighth time in 11 races by knocking off Millican. Millican got the jump at the start behind the wheel of his bright dragster, but lost traction down track as Fuller and his Flynn-tuned Fabick CAT rail cruised to a solid 4.613, 320.97 effort to earn the win light in the left lane. Fuller's elapsed time gave him lane choice over McClenathan in the semifinals.
Competing in the semifinals for the fifth time in seven races in 2007, the yellow-and-black Fabick CAT-backed dragster left first, but Fuller's rail lost traction instantly. The talented driver was on-and-off the throttle the entire quarter mile trying to play catch-up, but it wasn't enough. Fuller smoked his way to a run of 8.541 at 198.23, while McClenathan's FRAM dragster was slightly quicker clocking a winning run of 8.104 seconds.
"I'm pretty upset with myself for the semifinals," Fuller said. "Every driver wants to win a round for the team and I didn't do it. I pride myself on being a great peddler. It just wasn't meant to be.
"I'm glad to qualify No. 1 again, and I'm glad we got the points lead back. I'm really looking forward to going to Bristol. That's been a great track for us. Now, I'm ready to go win us a drag race."
"They prepped the track before the semis, but we didn't hook up," Flynn added. "We compensated for the track temperature, but it wasn't enough. We've run into these scenarios before where they prep the track and we struggle getting down. We've got to overcome that. We'll see these types of conditions more often."
The next race is the seventh annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, May 18-20, at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. Fuller has advanced to the finals at the Bristol race the past two seasons.