Fuller Hopes Lightning Can Strike Again Friday At River Cities (July 15)
New Yorker Returns To Site Of First Career World of Outlaws Late Model Series Win Looking To Change His Fortunes
By Kevin Kovac, WoO LMS P.R. Director
GRAND FORKS, ND – July 13, 2011 – Tim Fuller had lightning struck once at River Cities Speedway. Why can’t it happen again?
The 43-year-old driver from Watertown, N.Y., certainly isn’t ruling out the possibility of another magical visit to the North Dakota track.
Racing at the quarter-mile oval where he broke through to capture his first career World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main in 2007, Fuller is hopeful of breaking down a different barrier when the national tour contests its sixth annual 50-lap, $10,000-to-win ‘Wild West Tour’ event on Friday night (July 15). He hasn’t won on the full-fender circuit in over a year and has yet to score a single top-five finish since debuting his own team three months ago.
Considering Fuller’s struggle to get rolling in 2011, his chances of reaching Victory Lane at River Cities on Friday might not seem very strong. But then few people – not even Fuller himself – thought he would go out on June 12, 2007, at River Cities and capture his first-ever WoO LMS checkered flag so early in his rookie season, so maybe there are some parallels to boost his hopes of a slump-busting triumph four years later.
“No matter when or where you get a first win, it’s always a little bit of a surprise,” said Fuller, a regular on the Northeast’s DIRTcar Big-Block Modified trails before shifting his focus to the WoO LMS. “But winning my first Outlaw race at Grand Forks? All the way up in North Dakota? Yeah, that was a surprise.
“I would say it would be a surprise to win again there (this year) with the way our year has been going,” he continued. “But if we start up front and get some breaks, I think we could win. We pulled it off before when we didn’t expect it so we know it’s possible.”
Fuller will never forget his milestone victory at River Cities, a track that has become known for producing exciting, drama-filled WoO LMS events. He put on a spectacular display of traffic driving, slipping by West Virginia’s Eddie Carrier Jr. for the lead while negotiating a flurry of lapped cars with just four laps remaining.
“It was a heck of a race between me and Carrier,” recalled Fuller. “We were in lapped traffic racing for the lead, and that’s wild because at Grand Forks everything’s happening in a hurry. It’s a fast, racy place with really good clay.
“Really, though, we picked the right tires that night – that was the whole key. We had on 1300-1400 (compound Hoosier rubber) and nobody else did, so we were just right-on. Sometimes having the right tire like that is all it takes.”
Fuller hasn’t hit on the hot combination in the last three WoO LMS stops at River Cities – he was 10th in ’08 and 20th in ’09, and last year he limped to a 16th-place finish racing at less-than-full-strength just four days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. But in ’07 he had shown only fleeting signs of success before busting out at River Cities, and this year he’s flashed only fleeting signs of success through the first 15 events of the season, so…
Maybe Fuller, whose stint driving John Wight’s Gypsum Express equipment ended in mid-April when he secured sponsorship from Chad Sinon’s North Wales, Pa.-based BPG Inc. and purchased one of Wight’s Rocket cars, is ready to come alive. The driver who owns 12 career WoO LMS wins – including a personal-best seven victories in ’09 – has been inching his way back into contention on the tour.
“We got a late start on this deal so we’re never gonna be totally caught up until the season is over,” said Fuller, who is riding a 41-race winless streak since his last WoO LMS triumph, on June 17, 2010, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ont. “I only have one car and I don’t have an endless supply of tires, parts and spares, but I do have two motors now (he recently began running a new powerplant constructed by noted DIRTcar Big-Block Modified engine builder Kevin Enders of Phoenix, N.Y.) so we’re improving our program. We’re gaining on it.
“And I’m having more fun than I was,” he added. “At least you’re working for yourself now rather than somebody else. Before (racing for Wight) I was paying all the expenses and only getting half the (purse) money; now I’m getting 100 percent of the money and still paying all the expenses.”
Fuller’s top finish on the WoO LMS this season is sixth, on May 12 at Delaware International Speedway. He has only two other top-10 finishes (seventh on June 24 at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., and 10th on May 8 at Needmore Speedway in Norman Park, Ga.), hasn’t led an A-Main lap and ranks a distant ninth in the points standings.
“Right now, I’ll be happy with a top-five (finish) any night,” said Fuller. “Not to cry the blues, but we’re just a little under-gunned in terms of equipment.
“I still think we can win one this year, though,” he continued. “It would be neat if it happened on this (‘Wild West’) trip.”
Fuller will face a star-studded roster of WoO LMS drivers on Friday night, including two-time defending champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va. (’09 winner at River Cities); current points leader Rick Eckert of York, Pa.; Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky. (’06 winner at River Cities); 2010 Rookie of the Year Austin Hubbard of Seaford, Del., who was declared the winner of last year’s rain-shortened Outlaw A-Main at River Cities; Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y.; Clint Smith of Senoia, Ga.; Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga.; Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa.; Vic Coffey of Caledonia, N.Y.; Jill George of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and ’11 Rookie of the Year contenders Pat Doar of New Richmond, Wis., Ron Davies of Warren, Pa., and John Lobb of Frewsburg, N.Y.
Other drivers expected to challenge the Outlaws include ’08 River Cities WoO LMS victor Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., and recent Firecracker 100 winner Jimmy Mars of Menomonie, Wis., as well as a host of River Cities regulars, including Brad Seng of Grand Forks, N.D., Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg, Man., Ricky Weiss of Headingley, Man., Troy Schill of Grand Forks, N.D., Steve Anderson of Grand Forks, N.D., and Joey Pederson of East Grand Forks, Minn.
Hot laps are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and racing at 7:30 p.m. on Fri., July 15, at River Cities, which also has its weekly NOSA 410 Sprint Cars on the program.
Reserved seats are $28 in advance and $30 on race day, and general admission is $25 with kids 12-and-under admitted for $15.
Additional info on River Cities Speedway is available by logging on to www.rivercitiesspeedway.com or calling 701-780-0999 or 218-773-3002 (tickets).
For more information on the WoO LMS, visit www.worldofoutlaws.com.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series is brought to fans across the country by many important sponsors and partners, including Arizona Sport Shirts (Official Apparel Company), Armor All (Official Car Care Products), Hoosier Racing Tires (Official Racing Tires), STP (Official Fuel Treatment), Vicci (Official Uniform), VP Racing (Official Racing Fuel), DirtonDirt.com (Hard Charger Award), McCarthy’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning (Raye Vest Memorial Pill Draw Award), Chizmark Larson Insurance, Factory Value Parts and RacingJunk.com; in addition to contingency sponsors Comp Cams, Eibach Springs, JE Pistons, MSD Ignition, Ohlins Shocks, Pro Power Engines, Quartermaster, Rocket Chassis, R2C Performance, Superflow Dynos, Wix Filters and Wrisco Aluminum.