Gainesville Larry Dixon; riding high

GAINESVILLE, FLA (Mar. 19) -Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster posted a first round win over Rhonda Hartman-Smith and remain third in the NHRA Winston Top Fuel points race (206 points) after a second round finish at the...

GAINESVILLE, FLA (Mar. 19) -Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster posted a first round win over Rhonda Hartman-Smith and remain third in the NHRA Winston Top Fuel points race (206 points) after a second round finish at the 31st Annual Mac Tools Gatornationals.

Dixon, the No. 6 seed, began the day with the second-quickest lap of the first round as his effort of 4.664 seconds at 304.87 mph earned him a win over No. 11 seed Hartman-Smith (15.471 seconds) and 20 points in the point standings. With his win, Dixon improved his career record to two wins and just one loss (2W-1L, .667 win percentage) in head-to-head meetings against her.

Then, for the second time this season and tenth time in the past two years, Dixon faced off with familiar rival Kenny Bernstein in the day's second round. While Dixon had won the last three consecutive times the two drivers met, it would not be so Sunday as No. 3-seed Bernstein's lap of 4.658 seconds at 310.63 mph bettered Dixon's time of 4.697 seconds at 313.22 mph.

"Obviously I am disappointed losing against Bernstein," said Dixon. "That's the one guy I hate losing to for obvious reasons. We went up there and we were the only side by side race in the second round and it just happened to be against him. We had a real good car, we could have beat anybody else up there, but they stepped up a lot more than we anticipated. We had a clutch disk go bad on us and it slowed our car down from the 4.66 in the first round we actually tried to step up the performance and run a 63 or 64 but the added clutch wear that we got slowed the car down, plain and simple. It was just one of those drag race deals. It could have been on either end of that race.

As far as getting ready for Las Vegas goes, it is really tough to tell with a brand new race track that you won't really know a lot about until we get there on Thursday and see what the sportsman cars are doing when they run. This track here at Gainesville is phenomenal. We always see national records set here and next we are going to a brand new, green racetrack more similar to what we saw in Bristol. It will probably take a couple days of running on it before you can start to see some very competitive times."

The Miller Lite Team takes two weeks off before returning to action April 6-9 at the Inaugural Summit Racing.com Nationals in Las Vegas.

Larry Dixon's 31st Annual Mac Tools Gatornationals Results

First Round Dixon (.496/4.664 secs./304.87 mph) over Hartman-Smith (.480/15.471 secs./41.29 mph)

Second Round Bernstein (.460/4.658 secs./310.63 mph) over Dixon (.490/4.697 secs./313.22 mph)

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Don Prudhomme