Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Fuller races to runner-up finish
Chicago, Sunday: Hot Rod Fuller drove to a runner-up finish Sunday evening at Route 66 Raceway in front of a large Caterpillar cheering section. It was Fullerís 16th career final round appearance. The seven-time Top Fuel winner now ranks fifth in the NHRA POWERade standings.
After making just one full pass during qualifying at 4.602 seconds on Saturday evening, Fuller started from the No. 10 qualifying position. He edged 30-time winner Doug Kalitta, local Chicagoland favorite T.J. Zizzo, and young star Morgan Lucas, before falling to five-time series champion Tony Schumacher in the final round.
As the second pair of dragsters to compete on Sunday morning, Fuller and Kalitta used nearly identical reaction times and put on one of the best races of the day. Fuller used a tune-up from crew chief Rob Flynn to clock the second quickest pass of the round and earn the trip to the quarterfinals. The Caterpillar/Matco Tools rail posted a run of 4.540 seconds at 309.34 mph to hold off Kalittaís run of 4.560 at 327.59 in his red car. Fuller is now 8-7 in 15 career matches with Kalitta.
Following a lengthy afternoon storm and heavy rain showers, racing resumed around 4 p.m. (CT) at Route 66 Raceway. As the last pair of dragsters to compete in round two, Fuller and Zizzo used similar reaction times as the Flynn-tuned rail blasted to a performance of 4.602 at 323.58 to score the narrow win. Zizzo raced his red and white car to a pass of 4.647 at 313.88.
Fuller got the jump at the start to score the wire-to-wire victory over Lucas and advance to his 16th career Top Fuel final round. Fuller used an .057 of-a-second reaction time and a Flynn tune-up to race the Caterpillar/Valvoline car to a run of 4.678 at 316.45 to advance to the final round for the second time this season. Lucasí rail lost traction and slowed to a run of 6.345 at 214.08.
Competing in his 16th career Top Fuel final round, two of the sportís top drivers used solid reaction times, but the Caterpillar rail lost traction causing Fuller to pedal to a run of 5.259 at 223.14. Schumacher drove his Alan Johnson-tuned dragster to low elapsed time of the meet at 4.499 at 329.83 to score his fourth win of the season. Fuller now has 99 career round wins and a mark of 13-9 this season, including a victory over Schumacher at Madison, Ill. on May 4. Fuller and teammate Antron Brown rank fifth and third, respectively, in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel standings.ďAll in all, it was a great weekend,Ē Fuller said. ďWe really struggled in qualifying and I was just hoping to make the field and get to first round. This has been a really good track to me. Iíve never won here yet, but getting to the final round isnít a bad thing and nothing to shake your head over. Iím just proud of my guys and both of these David Powers Motorsports teams. The Matco Tools team worked great together and helped us out all day long to get to that final and thatís what teamwork is all about. I hope all the Caterpillar employees had a fun experience this weekend.Ē
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