Denver: Dixon, Gaines preview

Miller Lite's Denver duo set to scale Thunder Mountain. DENVER (July 15) - The second half of the NHRA POWERade season kicks off with the running of the 23rd annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway and defending Denver Top Fuel ...

Miller Lite's Denver duo set to scale Thunder Mountain.

DENVER (July 15) - The second half of the NHRA POWERade season kicks off with the running of the 23rd annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway and defending Denver Top Fuel champ, Larry Dixon is ready to scale the mountain again in hopes of claiming his rightful winning hardware. However, this year in the Mile-High city, Dixon will have local Pro Stock favorite and Denver businessman, V Gaines sharing the famous Milwaukee's brewer's colors of Miller Lite.

With the first 12 NHRA races behind him, Dixon is raring to get behind the wheel of his powerful Miller Lite/Snake Racing dragster to continue the pursuit of his first NHRA POWERade Top Fuel Championship. His 157- point lead over Kenny Bernstein in the points chase, along with his seven victories out of 10 final rounds has given Dixon the momentum he needs to make his championship charge in the Miller Lite machine. But before that, he knows that qualifying is paramount and adjusting to the mile-high elevation is his key to a successful weekend.

"Over the past years, it's been the ability to make good power up there," said Dixon, who defeated Doug Kalitta in last year's finals. "It's like trying to run around the block breathing through a straw getting your air and fuel ratio correct and accustomed to make the proper power. It seems to be the trickiest for the crew chiefs trying to make power, adjusting the clutch and the finding all the downforce they can. We're pretty much maxxed-out on our wings when we go up into the altitude; you've got less downforce. It's a real finesse-type situation."

Gaines, a two-time winner on the tour and No. 15 in the current 2002 Pro Stock standings, will be using his knowledge of the arid mile-high air to combat his recent qualifying strife and return to the factory hot rod fray.

"We're kind of lucky in the aspect that we're from Denver," said Gaines, the owner and CEO of Western Beverage, the Miller Brewing Company distributor for the area. "We've been racing around Denver for a lot of years. Normally, you would think that would give us an advantage, however we've raced there the same amount of time as everybody else on the circuit. Some of our past experience may help us. We do test there before the Mile-High's every year and lose about 20 per cent of our horsepower at that altitude. Unfortunately, we can't make it up like the fuel cars. We try to make power with the density of the oxygen that we have available to us. We all go by what is known as 'Adjusted Altitude' that we take into consideration.

For V Gaines winning a Denver Pro Stock title at his home track would be the ultimate.

"It would be a dream come true for me," said a smiling Gaines. 'It's our hometown and we hope to have around 8,000 customers, family, and people from the distributorship, so it would really be neat to make it truly Miller Time."

ESPN2 will air qualifying highlights starting on Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. EDT with final round coverage of the 23rd annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals starting at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 21.

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Doug Kalitta