Englishtown: Dixon final qualifying

ENGLISHTOWN,NJ (May 19) -- Larry Dixon used a lap of 4.609 seconds at 313.29 mph to post his fourth No. 3 qualifying effort of the season in the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster heading into Sunday's elimination round at the 32nd Annual ...

ENGLISHTOWN,NJ (May 19) -- Larry Dixon used a lap of 4.609 seconds at 313.29 mph to post his fourth No. 3 qualifying effort of the season in the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster heading into Sunday's elimination round at the 32nd Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals.

Dixon and Crew Chief Dick LaHaie continued to show their strong consistency as they have now qualified among the top three cars at seven of the eight races this season on the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. It also counts as the 13th time in 29 rounds this year that LaHaie has seen his team post a 4.6-second qualifying lap. Dixon, who will take on No. 14 seeded David Grubnic in Sunday's first round, has qualified in the No. 3 spot four times, was No. 2 on three occasions and has only found himself on the bottom half of the ladder once with his No. 9 effort at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

For his career, Dixon owns a record of six wins and no losses against Grubnic. The two drivers have met twice already this season with Dixon holding an undefeated 2-0 advantage.

Saturday's final two rounds of qualifying came under much warmer temperatures and higher humidity than the conditions found during Friday's two sessions. The Miller Lite Car lost traction at halftrack in the early session before slowing to a time of 6.149 seconds at 137.68 mph. In fact only one car, Top Fuel points leader Mike Dunn (4.68 seconds), was able to make it down the track in the heat of the day. Dixon returned to form later as he ran a strong lap of 4.611 seconds at 319.90 mph, the second quickest of the final qualifying session. His fourth and final lap nearly equaled his previous best (4.609 seconds), which he recorded on Friday. Kenny Bernstein claimed the pole with his lap of 4.561 seconds at 323.27 mph.

"I think it's really important to qualify in the top three or four cars," said Dixon. "That allows you to choose what pair you get to go out for the first round. If we are third quick, then we get third choice as to what pair we go out and that's the benefit of qualifying near the top. The importance of qualifying No. 1 well, yeah, I guess that would be nice but it doesn't mean you're going to win. We have been able to qualify as one of the top four cars at every race this season but one, so I like that part about it. Now it's just a matter of going out and doing it on Sunday."

"The conditions changed dramatically from the first session today to the second session," said Dixon. "We had our car set up on the softer side for the second session. Could we have gone out there and run a mid to high 4.50? I guarantee it, but if its hot and humid tomorrow like it was today, then that wouldn't teach us anything. We are looking at the probability that it's going to be hot tomorrow and we need to be able to get down a hot racetrack like we saw in Gainesville and Bristol. By what we ran tonight, I think we can go down any racetrack tomorrow at around a 4.60."

Dixon is in search of his second career win at Englishtown to match his 1995 win during his NHRA Rookie of theYear season. He sits just 25 points behind Dunn in the Winston Top Fuel points race and could find the 300th career elimination round barrier by reaching the second round on Sunday. Coverage of Sunday's elimination rounds will air on ESPN 2 on Sunday from 10:00 PM to Midnight ET.

-Snake Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie