"Hot Rod" Fuller has plenty of reasons to be excited. Not only does the 35-year-old Las Vegas resident pilot one of the quickest Top Fuel dragsters in the land, but also enters NHRA's penultimate event as one of the odds-on favorites to win a boatload of cash.
Fuller, who has earned NHRA national event victories in four different categories, has raced his David Powers-owned Valvoline dragster to the final round at two of the last three events. The talented quarter mile racer aims to continue the strong performance of his Lee Beard-tuned rail when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series pays its final 2006 visit to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 26-29, for the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals.
"We've been to the final round at two of the last three races and we've been qualifying well," Fuller said. "We found some stuff in testing after Reading (Pa.) that we didn't get to use at Richmond (Va.) and we hope that will make the car more consistent and faster at the final two races."
Fuller has blasted the Valvoline-backed dragster to two victories (Phoenix and Englishtown, N.J.) in five final round appearances this season and with a consistently quick Beard tune-up behind him, the Arkansas native has qualified fourth or higher at the last eight races, including his second No. 1 qualifying position of the season. With the luxury of sleeping in his own bed this weekend, the rising Top Fuel star hopes for two visits to the winner's circle at The Strip beginning on Saturday afternoon in the lucrative Budweiser Shootout at Las Vegas. Fuller, who compiled the third most points in the Bud Shootout standings, is eager to fulfill a longtime dream at his home track and collect the $100,000 payday.
"There's something special about the Budweiser Shootout," Fuller said. "It holds so much prestige. I remember telling my parents many years ago that I want to ride on those Clydesdales some day, and hopefully I can do it in front of my home fans on Saturday and hold that big check."
Entering the season, a top five finish in the POWERade standings was the team's goal. With 28 rounds wins to his credit, Fuller enters the fall Las Vegas race ranked fifth in NHRA drag racing's premier category. Now, Fuller, Beard and company hope to add another "Wally" trophy to their list of 2006 accomplishments, along with playing the role of spoiler to the three drivers in title contention.
"I don't feel any added pressure just because it's my home track," Fuller said. "I think all the pressure is on the guys battling for the championship. I think we can be a big factor in who wins the title and I don't think those guys want to face us in either the Shootout or on race day."

Thanks to: Ted Yerzyk