Brainerd: Dixon to Face Scelzi in first round

BRAINERD, MN (Aug. 19) - The margin between first and second place in the Winston Top Fuel point standings is guaranteed to increase as No. 10 seed Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster will meet No. 7 seed Gary Scelzi in...

BRAINERD, MN (Aug. 19) - The margin between first and second place in the Winston Top Fuel point standings is guaranteed to increase as No. 10 seed Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster will meet No. 7 seed Gary Scelzi in the first round of eliminations Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway.

Dixon (1,100), who currently sits just 93 points behind points leader Scelzi (1,193) and the Alan Johnson tuned Winston dragster, secured the No. 10 spot with his best qualifying lap of the weekend with a time of 4.711 seconds at 314.02 mph recorded on Friday. Scelzi's best effort during qualifying was a lap of 4.688 seconds at 312.28 mph. As if the battle for much-needed points was not enough, Dixon also looks to improve on his 0-4 record against Scelzi this year. For his career, Dixon owns a mark of 3 wins and 12 losses to Scelzi and has an overall record of 10 wins against 15 losses against Alan Johnson's top fuel cars.

"We have to be very cautious about going down the left lane tomorrow," said Miller Lite Team Crew Chief Dick LaHaie. "I can't really tell you why the car is running the way it is. I look at the numbers at everything looks wonderful, but it isn't. We have run 311 (mph) a few times and 314 once. Although I am a bit upset that we are not running better, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. What are the odds of us qualifying so that we would have to face each other in the first round? If we would have qualified better than we did, then we wouldn't have to meet Scelzi, but I really do believe this has happened for a reason. If we are going to win this championship, or be in the running to win it, we are going to have to beat him (Scelzi) sooner or later. One good thing is that Larry is really driving well right now."

"You have got number 1 and number 2 going at it, it's a big round," said Dixon. "We are 100 points (93) behind him so we need to gain ground and the only way we our going to gain ground is to have him go out early and for us to go rounds. So with us racing him, we don't have to hope for anything. We are the makers of our own destiny. If want him to go out early, we are in the right spot to get it done."

Dixon's career best qualifying effort at Brainerd was a No. 3 seeding in 1995 where he posted a first round finish to Eddie Hill. The sixth-year Miller Lite pilot defeated Hill in last year's top fuel final for the eighth win of his career and first NHRA title at B.I.R. Sunday's elimination round begins at 10 AM and will be televised by TNN.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Gary Scelzi , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie