SEATTLE (July 29) - No. 4 seed Larry Dixon recorded his best qualifying position in six years of competition at Seattle International Raceway on Saturday with his lap of 4.671 seconds at 312.57 mph as the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster heads into Sunday's elimination round at the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals.
Dixon entered Saturday's final two qualifying sessions as the No. 6 seed with a personal track record elapsed time of 4.699 seconds set on Friday afternoon. He continued to set new personal track record marks on Saturday as his lap of 4.671 seconds at 312.57 mph proved to be the quickest among top fuel cars in the first session and was good enough to claim the No. 4 qualifying spot.
"That run was awesome," said the happy driver. "We try to estimate what the car is going to run and (crew chief) Dick LaHaie thought we'd run around a 4.66 or 4.67 lap, so to run a .67 in this heat is great."
His speed in the first session (312.57) was just .07 mph shy of the top qualifying speed mark set by pole winner Gary Scelzi (4.652 seconds at 312.64 mph). Dixon's second qualifying attempt (4.72 seconds) did not improve his positioning and secured a first round match up with No. 13 Gary Clapshaw (4.82 seconds at 286.25), marking the first time the two drivers will have met in their careers.
The Miller Lite driver's previous best career qualifying effort at Seattle was a pair of No. 5 seedings, first in 1995 and then again in 1997. His best finish in the Pacific Northwest was a semifinal effort to Scelzi at the Prolong Nationals in 1997.
Dixon and the Miller Lite Team (919) enter tomorrow's eliminations just 110 points behind top fuel points leader Scelzi (1029) and is just 71 points behind Tony Schumacher (990) for second place in the Winston Top Fuel Points race. Sunday's elimination round begins at 11 AM and will be televised by ESPN 2.