Bristol; Dixon looks poised to contend for Winston Crown

{TX} BRISTOL, TN (July 5) - What a difference a year has made for Larry Dixon as the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season speeds toward the halfway mark this weekend at the Second Annual Winston Showdown in Bristol, TN (July 7-9). ...

{TX} BRISTOL, TN (July 5) - What a difference a year has made for Larry Dixon as the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season speeds toward the halfway mark this weekend at the Second Annual Winston Showdown in Bristol, TN (July 7-9).

Entering last year's Inaugural Winston Showdown, Dixon had Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster sitting sixth in the top fuel points chase, and had yet to make a trip to Victory Lane with a pair of runner up finishes coming in Pomona and Richmond. Once arriving in Bristol for the non-points meet, it was a short race day for Dixon, as he was one of the many drivers who made a foul start as they were unaccustomed to the handicapped Christmas Tree.

This year's Winston Showdown might just have a different result as Dixon and the Miller Lite Team take a stronger, more consistent car to Thunder Valley. Crew Chief Dick LaHaie has tuned the Lite car to the semifinal round at eight out of the first 11 races this season, including two wins in four trips to the final round. The difference in the car's consistency over last season is vastly improved with a total of 43 out of 65 total full passes tripping the finish line in the 4.60-second range - a 66% clip.

On an average this year, Dixon is running laps at an average elapsed time of 4.732 seconds at 307.58 mph. And when Dixon has come up a little short, the race is usually gut-wrenchingly close, proven by his .006-second defeat just two weeks ago in St. Louis.

"We're doing so much better than last season; there is just no comparison," Dixon said. "We're staying within striking distance of Scelzi and the way he's been running, that's really saying something. He's no slouch. As long as we keep going to finals, we'll win our share of races."

"Unless something really crazy happens, I expect our team to have the same consistency we've had stick with us for a while. As long as the team keeps on doing a great job servicing the car, LaHaie makes great calls, and I continue to do a decent job driving, we'll be in the fight. We are entering the part of the season now where Dick really shines -- the hot and humid racetracks -- and I am looking forward to it."

{TB} Larry Dixon's Career Results in Bristol & Rockingham Winston Non-points Events

Year    Event                       Qual.               Finish & Winning Driver
1995    Winston Invitational        No. 1               Runner up- S. Kalitta
1996    Winston Invitational        No. 3               Runner up-B. Johnson
1997    Winston Invitational        No. 2               First round-J. Head
1998    Winston Invitational        did not qualify
1999    Winston Showdown            No. 11              First round-W. Bazemore

2000 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings 1. Gary Scelzi 991 2. Tony Schumacher 896 95 out 3. LARRY DIXON 864 127 out 4. Kenny Bernstein 772 219 out 5. Joe Amato 699 292 out 6. Doug Kalitta 553 438 out 7. Cory McClenathan 538 453 out 8. Doug Herbert 492 499 out 9. David Grubnic 413 578 out 10. Don Lampus 410 581 out Key Stats

The Miller Lite Dragster is covering the quarter mile during qualifying and eliminations at an average elapsed time of 4.732 seconds in 65 full passes totaling 307.58 seconds (5.12 minutes).

The Miller Lite Dragster's top E.T. of the season was 4.626 seconds during the final round at Richmond. The top speed of the season was 320.58 mph during the semi-finals at Houston.

This season the Miller Lite Dragster is running the quarter mile in the 4.60 range 66.1% of the time, with 43 out of 65 full passes between 4.60-4.69 seconds.

Larry Dixon to Meet with Bristol Area Drag Race Fans NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon will be making appearances this week throughout the Bristol area where he will be meeting and signing autographs for local drag racing fans. Below is a tentative schedule for Dixon leading to the Winston Showdown: <pre> Date & Time Location Wed, 7/5 Noon Winston Showdown press luncheon, Bristol Dragway press center Thur, 7/6 7-9 p.m. Hooters & Bennigan's, 2288 North Rome, Johnson City (423-610-1484) Fri, 7/8 4 & 8 p.m. Qualifying sessions #1 & #2 Sat, 7/9 Noon & 5 Qualifying sessions #3 & #4 Sun, 7/10 11:00 a.m. Eliminations begin

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Don Lampus