From The Snake Pit
Larry Dixon & Miller Lite Dragster Move Within Three Points Of Top Fuel Lead With First Career Win At Mile High Nationals
Dixon Records Third Win Of The Season At First Stop On Nhra West Coast Swing
MORRISON, CO (July 22) -- Larry Dixon drove the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Dragster to his first career win at Bandimere Speedway Sunday at the 22nd Annual Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals to move to within three points of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Top Fuel points lead.
Dixon's win, his third of the season and 13th of his seven-year driving career, also marked the first victory in Denver for team owner and hall of fame driver Don "The Snake" Prudhomme.
The Miller Lite Team began the day as the No. 3 seed and had an opening round appointment with No. 14 seeded John Smith and the Fram Dragster. Dixon kept the longest current opening round win streak in Top Fuel alive as he notched his 15th consecutive first round win with a pass of 4.826 seconds at 264.49 mph to defeat Smith's effort of 7.948 seconds at 102.65 mph. The win gave Dixon his second career win over Smith in two career meetings, both of which coming in 2001.
The second round saw Dixon meet No. 11 seed Paul Romine and the CarQuest Dragster after Romine upset Mike Dunn in the first round. Dixon cruised to a winning pass of 4.867 seconds at 297.02 mph to improve his career mark to 5 wins and 2 losses to Romine who ran a lap of 5.249 seconds at 240.47 mph.
Dixon's second round win pushed him into the semifinal round for the 11th time in 14 races this season and a match up with No. 10 seed Doug Herbert and the Snap On Tools Dragster. The Miller Lite driver earned his money in the semis as he pedaled his way to the win with a winning time of 5.261 seconds at 280.31 mph to defeat Herbert's lap of 5.389 seconds at 263.00 mph. Dixon's victory over Herbert moved his career record to 10 wins and 2 losses and in now a perfect 2-0 against Herbert for the season.
The final round showing by Dixon was the fifth time this season they have advanced to the championship round and the Miller Lite Team would not be denied. Facing No. 5 seed Doug Kalitta (5.364 at 257.24 mph) in the finals for only the second time in his career, Dixon cut his best light of the day (.466) and sailed to a championship-winning run of 4.844 seconds at 298.47 mph. Dixon's win in Denver is the second win this season that has come at a track where he has never before visited the winner's circle -- the other was at Columbus, Ohio on Father's Day.
"The magic we had today was all (crew chief) Dick LaHaie," said Dixon. "For me as driver, and even when I was a crew guy, the two races I used to aggravate about were Columbus and Denver. With Snake hiring Dick, it seems to be the magic. We won at Columbus earlier this year and now we get to win here. He really has a handle on things. We had some lucky rounds, we struggled a little bit in qualifying, but we still got the win at the end of the day."
With points leader Kenny Bernstein losing in the second round, the door was wide open for the Miller Lite Team to make up some serious points. Dixon was not bothered with added pressure. "I have been trained by Snake that when you go into a race, you don't need to worry about the points because if you win, the points will take care of themselves and that's the attitude that you take. Yeah, we gained a lot of ground on him today, but the points don't matter until the Sunday night at the championships. I am just trying to win races for Miller and for Snake."
Dixon now owns a total of 1,162 points and sits a mere three points behind Bernstein(1,165). Kalitta is third (988) followed by Gary Scelzi (923) and Mike Dunn (915). The Miller Lite Team heads to Seattle next week (July 26-29) for the 14th Annual Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals.