Hot Rod Fuller and his Yas Marina Circuit DiGiorno Top Fuel Dragster had a somewhat bumpy ride this past weekend in The Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tennesse. Qualifying 15th, Fuller found himself up against current Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon, losing in the first round of eliminations.
“After our awesome performances in the test prior to the race, we were super confident coming to Bristol,” said Fuller, a seven-time Top Fuel winner. “But, the reality is, we weren’t able to deliver when it mattered. There’s huge potential in this car and the team. We just need to unlock it.”
A difficult Friday saw Hot Rod post a best run of 4.040 seconds and 280.31mph (451.12 kph), placing him 13th.
“Our short times were the fastest of the session,” said Fuller. So, we knew the car was fast; it just had to be tamed. On the second run, the car lost fire in one of the cylinders and I had to back off the power.”
Saturday’s third run saw a car malfunction leaving it to a nail biting fourth run before Rod qualified his Yas Marina Circuit top fuel dragster for Sunday’s finals.
“I’ve qualified in every race that I’ve competed since 1996,” said Abu Dhabi’s Fuller, “that’s the longest streak in the NHRA. Trust me, the pressure was really on.”
Heavy rain and storms delayed Sunday’s elimination rounds by 4 hours. Against Dixon, Fuller had the start line advantage with a reaction time of .046 secs to Dixon’s .063 secs. But, the Yas Marina Circuit Dragster smoked the tires, sending the Qatari Al Anabi Team on to round two.
“My start was awesome,” said Fuller, “I also banked the fastest sector time of the first round. However, we had decided to go with an aggressive set-up and sometimes that backfires. Larry went on to win the entire round. To lose to the eventual winner lessens the pain, but only a little. Going into Chicago I feel very confident. I know that we have the horsepower, and the tune-up, to win races.”
Bristol was the first of 10 races in which Hot Rod Fuller and the Yas Marina Circuit GiGiorno Top Fuel Team will participate in the 2011 NHRA Drag Racing Series tour. The next round is the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, July 7th-10th, in Chicago.