DENVER, UNITED STATES // Rod Fuller fought a losing battle with his tyres as the Top Fuel driver was unable to improve his position heading into the final day at the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) Mile-High Nationals. Fuller, a driver for the fledgling Abu Dhabi/Yas Marina Drag Team, smoked his tyres on both qualification runs on Saturday and slipped from ninth to 11th among the 16 Top Fuel dragsters that were to battle for supremacy in eliminations yesterday at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
He takes a best time of 4.111 seconds, at a top speed of 451.678kph, into the eliminations, where he will meet Shawn Langdon in the round of 16. Fuller qualified third last week at Sonoma, California, in the team's NHRA debut on the world's premier drag-racing circuit, but he coasted to the finish line of the quarter-mile (402-metre) track on both runs on Saturday, having shut off the engine. Smoking tyres were a problem throughout the Top Fuel field.
Antron Brown qualified first with a time of 3.961 seconds despite not making a full pass on either run on Friday. Brown could have been speaking for Fuller when he described slippery conditions on the track. "You've got different conditions happening," Brown said. "You've got a really [good] starting line, then you get to the other stuff that's hot and slick and you have to navigate that, so it makes it tricky. The car wanted to run a 3.92 [secs]or 3.93, but the track didn't want any part of it. We were just too aggressive too far down the racetrack."
The event at Bandimere Speedway is the only stop on the NHRA circuit in which drivers race at altitude, in this case about 1,600m. That Fuller fell only two positions on the qualifying sheet despite not making a pass under power demonstrated the difficulty of the track on Saturday. Brown suggested that conditions would not improve. "If the sun is out, it's going to be even more tricky," he said. * Agencies