LAFARGEVILLE, NY – When Tim Fuller received the call informing him of his induction into the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame this summer, it brought several aspects of his professional life into perspective.
“I’m surprised that I’m that old,” Fuller said. “[I guess] I’ve been doing it for that long and actually got recognized for it. You don’t ever think about that stuff. But as you get older, you don’t think about it, you just keep racing. To be considered for it, I’m very proud of that.”
The Watertown, NY resident started racing a Pure Stock back in 1988, heavily influenced by his uncle who was also a racer. Showing talent right from the beginning, things accelerated from there with Fuller moving up divisions to eventually compete in a DIRTcar 358 Modified and a DIRTcar Big Block Modified.
After many seasons honing his skills, Fuller came into the prime of his career in the early 2000s, describing it as “his time.” In 2004, with everything working as planned, and “a little bit of luck,” he took home the crown jewel of dirt Modified racing, winning the 2004 Eckerd 200 title at Super DIRT Week.
“What Syracuse did was made you accomplished,” Fuller said. “Everything you always worked for and strived for over the years watching those people standing on that stage in front of that huge crowd, that was everything. To think you get one shot a year, we actually had a lot of luck on our side that day…there’s one race that can never be taken away from you.”
Beyond taking home the trophy and being enshrined in the race’s history, the win had special significance to Fuller, and considers it one of the proudest moments of his career.
“It was the look on my car owner’s face who went there for so many years with different drivers and that was his number one thing in his racing,” Fuller said. “He always wanted to win in Central New York, and he always wanted to win Syracuse. To be able to do that for [car owner] Bob Faust, was pretty cool. I like to see people happy. I like to see people get what they wanted…to be able to accomplish that for him when he was in the later part of his race car owning career, I just remember seeing the look on his face. He had tears in his eyes and was happier than hell. That makes me happy.”
Fuller carried over the momentum into the following season, winning the 2005 Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modified title and the Salute to the Troops 150 at Super DIRT Week. He is quick to recognize the teamwork and mental toughness needed to be able to win the sport’s most coveted prizes.
“You need a great crew,” Fuller said. “You have to have your mindset right when you race those races as far as the longevity of the way the Series used to be. You can’t just go in there and go willy nilly. You had to pace yourself. You needed a good crew… you need a lot of good crew behind you, a lot of dedicated crew… and things also have to go your way. It’s just one of those things.”
Fuller followed up his DIRTcar 358 Modified Super DIRT Week win with another in 2016 – his first at Oswego Speedway.
Overall, he’s collected 32 victories with the Super DIRTcar Series – most recently at Bridgeport Motorsports Park in 2021 – 14 victories with the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series and a championship in 2003, and a multitude of weekly racing triumphs.
With several of the sport’s highest prizes on his resume spanning over a career of 30 years, many would understand Fuller announcing his retirement. But as the current season commences, Tim Fuller is not ready to hang up his helmet just yet.
“Some people just have a competitive streak. And it’s love of the competition,” Fuller said. “I still sit on pit road waiting to go out, and that’s probably the most exhilarating feeling. It’s “go time.” It’s the thrill of competition and still being somewhat successful 30 years later. Still knowing that it can still be your night on any given night. If I didn’t have some success along the way in my later years, I probably wouldn’t do it.”
The 31st annual Northeast Dirt Modified induction ceremony will take place at the Northeast Dirt Modified Museum and Hall of Fame (in front of Weedsport Speedway) on July 13 at 7 p.m. Joining Fuller as the latest inductees will be Danny O’Brien and Bob Cameron.
UP NEXT: The Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds are back in action at Bridgeport Motorsports Park on Sunday, April 23 for a 75-lap, $7,500-to-win showcase event.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every Super DIRTcar Series race live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.
Photo: Chris Owens