BAYTOWN, Texas (April 2, 2006) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon moved to second place in the NHRA Top Fuel standings after driving his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a quarterfinal finish Sunday at Houston Raceway Park.

The veteran Top Fuel racer scored a wire-to-wire victory over David Baca when Dixon used a starting line advantage and a pass of 4.575 seconds at 328.22 mph to knock off the Northern California driver in a close match-up of the Nos. 8 and 9 qualified cars. Baca powered his rail to a 4.663-second performance. Dixon is now 8-0 in his career versus Baca.

"When you're the first pair, you know you're running a car that can run just as good or better than you, so you don't know what to expect," Dixon said. "We came out and made a nice solid run and took the win light."

In the second round, Dixon was pitted against veteran racer and fellow Southern California native Cory McClenathan for the 45th time in his career. Dixon, now in his 12th season as a driver, has faced off against McClenathan more than any Top Fuel other driver. Dixon used a Don Bender tune-up to power the Miller Lite rail to a pass of 4.573 at 326.63, but it wasn't enough to hold off McClenathan's time of 4.591 seconds.

"We made another good run, but we didn't get the win light that round," Dixon said. "I'm not the guy to paint a happy picture at this point. We've got a great team and a great car, now we just have to get it done."

"The car is running good," Bender added. "We've been battling some fuel pump issues, but we're working through that. Once we get it figured out, the car will be even more consistent with the new tire. I'm confident that we'll be able to run near the top of the pack."

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the Seventh annual Summitracing.com Nationals, April 6-9, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dixon is the defending event champion of the spring Las Vegas event and has advanced to the final round at the April Las Vegas race the past four years.