From The Snake Pit Larry Dixon Drives Miller Lite Dragster To Sixth Win Of Year At Dallas And Climbs To Within 15 Points Of Top Fuel Lead Dixon Posts Track Record E.T., Personal Best Speed And Low E.T. Each Round NIS,TEXAS (Oct. 21) Larry...
From The Snake Pit
Larry Dixon Drives Miller Lite Dragster To Sixth Win Of Year At Dallas And Climbs To Within 15 Points Of Top Fuel Lead
Dixon Posts Track Record E.T., Personal Best Speed And Low E.T. Each Round
NIS,TEXAS (Oct. 21) Larry Dixon dominated Dallas as he posted both personal and track records Sunday to win his sixth NHRA Top Fuel race of the season at the 16th Annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex and climbed to within one round of the lead in the Winston Championship points race.
Dixon deconstructed "The Big D" as he earned his third pole of the season (4.508 seconds), set a new track record elapsed time mark with his quickest pass of the season (4.500 seconds), posted a new career-best speed mark (327.27 mph) and finally, ran low elapsed time for six consecutive rounds (two qualifying, four elimination rounds) en route to his 16th career Top Fuel victory.
The Miller Lite Team entered the day as the top qualifier and was slated to face No. 16 qualifier Mark Kinsella for the first time in Dixon's seven-year career. In spite of some staging antics by Kinsella, Dixon kept his focus and drove to an opening round winning pass of 4.548 seconds at 326.20 mph a speed mark which would serve as a new personal-best until the second round. Kinsella's effort of 4.962 seconds at 302.62 mph was not enough as Dixon got the win in his first meeting with Kinsella and stretched the NHRA's longest current winning streak in Top Fuel to 24 consecutive races.
The second round put Dixon up against No. 8 qualifier Gary Scelzi for the eighth time this season. Dixon improved his season mark to six wins and two losses to the defending Winston Top Fuel champ as Crew Chief Dick LaHaie tuned the Miller Lite Dragster to its quickest pass of the year a stellar pass of 4.500 seconds at 327.27 mph. Scelzi's run of 12.781 seconds at 93.61 mph never had a chance as Dixon posted his quickest lap of the year, second best of his career, and his career-best speed mark.
Dixon's impressive day continued as he closed the gap on Top Fuel points leader Kenny Bernstein by defeating his main rival in the semifinals. Meeting each other for the fifth time in as many races, Dixon cruised to a winning lap of 4.532 seconds at 324.20 mph as Bernstein came out on the short end with a time of 4.575 seconds at 323.04 seconds. The win trimmed Bernstein's lead from 58 points to a slight 15-point advantage with only two races (8 rounds) remaining on the season schedule.
"Absolutely, it's a big deal because it's less than a round of racing," said Dixon. "You've got eight rounds of racing left and whoever wins the most rounds out of the deal is going to win the whole thing. As a driver that's all you look for is an opportunity to win and to be in the hunt like this, so it's nice. There have been quite a few times that we have come into this race and the door has been shut on us at this track where it mathematically took us out of the points hunt, so to be able to come here and get ourselves back into position to do it is real special. "
The coup de grace came in the final round as Dixon posted his fourth consecutive 4.5-second lap of the day to defeat Doug Kalitta in the final round. Dixon's run of 4.553 seconds at 320.05 seconds secured his sixth win of the year and gave the Miller Lite pilot his ninth career win over Kalitta (7.908 seconds at 105.64 mph).
"Kenny is a very, very strong competitor, but over on our side we have Dick LaHaie and Don Prudhomme who have won a bunch of championships on their own, so having those guys to look up to and coach me down the road is very helpful," said Dixon. "I like the way things turned out today alot better than two weeks ago (Reading, PA), but that's the way it's been. Last week it was a 4.51 to a 4.51 and the week before it was a 4.54 to a 4.57, so we both have two really strong cars and finally things went our way and we were able to get the win light. First and foremost you are trying to win the event, that's the first thing on your agenda. If you are able to do that, then you end up with the points and the way it turned out, racing him early helped us out. But it could have went the other way just as easily, so I am just real thankful to get by that round and have an opportunity to win."
Dixon was quick to give praise to LaHaie and the Miller Lite Team for the consistency his car had all day. "That's LaHaie and the crew," said Dixon. "You change engines, you change clutches every single round so it's something to be able to get tha trepeatability out of the race car. The most impressive run for me today was when we ran a (4).50 flat in the second round in the middle of the heat like it was. It was just, Wow! For the semis and finals, I think they calmed it down a little bit to make sure they didn't take any chances."
The win Sunday gave Prudhomme his 77th career victory (49 as a driver, 28 as an owner) and was also a special one for Dixon who celebrates his 35th birthday this coming Tuesday (Oct. 23). "I have been in the winner's circle here a bunch of times as a crew guy for Ed McCulloch and for Snake, but to finally get my name on one of the plaques in the winner's circle is special," said Dixon.
Dixon now has a total of 1,872 points to Bernstein's 1,887. The Miller Lite Team returns to action next weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Inaugural AC Delco Las Vegas Fall Nationals (Oct. 25-28).