Houston: Dixon No. 2 with career-best speed 324.75 mph

BAYTOWN,TX (Mar. 24) -- On the heels of an unusual first day of qualifying at Houston Raceway Park on Friday, Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite Dragster posted their best qualifying lap of the weekend Saturday with a pass of 4.543 seconds at a ...

BAYTOWN,TX (Mar. 24) -- On the heels of an unusual first day of qualifying at Houston Raceway Park on Friday, Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite Dragster posted their best qualifying lap of the weekend Saturday with a pass of 4.543 seconds at a career-best speed of 324.75 mph as they look to repeat as Top Fuel Champions at the O'Reilly Nationals.

Dixon's weekend began with a controversial lap that produced no elapsed time or speed as the NHRA timing devices malfunctioned. Later that day, Dixon and crew rebounded nicely with a lap of 4.576 seconds at 318.62 mph to claim the No. 3 spot after the first two qualifying sessions.

Saturday's action began with Crew Chief Dick LaHaie tuning Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Top Fuel Dragster to its second-best elapsed time of the season and eclipsed Dixon's previous career-best speed mark with a pass of 4.543 seconds at 324.75 mph. The Miller Lite pilot's previous best speed was 321.96 mph recorded June 26, 1999 at Madison, Ill. His best time so far this season is 4.538 seconds during the final qualifying lap at Phoenix.

At the end of the first session, Dixon would see himself positioned on the pole with one session remaining. Despite his final qualifying lap of 4.624 seconds at 318.02 mph, he would not be able to claim the ninth pole of his career as Mike Dunn jumped ahead with a time of 4.534 seconds at 323.50 mph. For his efforts, Dixon will meet up with No. 15 seed Bobby Baldwin, marking the fourth time the two drivers have met in their careers. Dixon holds acareer mark of three wins and no losses in head-to-head meetings with Baldwin and is 1-0 for the season with his opening round win at Pomona. Dixon is also scheduled to face Baldwin in the first round when the postponed Gatornationals resume April 20-21.

"I am happy about running 324 mph, almost 325 mph," said Dixon. "We increased our personal best speed by almost three miles per hour, so that was great. On our last run today we put a cylinder out, ran on seven cylinders and still ran a 4.62, which is pretty strong to be able to still do that. As far as race day goes, I am glad that we had that cylinder go out today as opposed to tomorrow so that way we can fix it so that it won't happen again. We just want to go out there and make four good runs and try and take home another gold man." Dixon, currently sits fourth in the Winston Points race. He has won the Top Fuel title at H.R.P twice in his career (Fall 1999, Spring 2000). Crew Chief Dick LaHaie has tuned the winning Top Fuel car at H.R.P. at three of the last four events, including Doug Herbert's win in 1999 before joining Snake Racing later that fall. ESPN2 is scheduled to broadcast Sunday'selimination rounds tomorrow from 6-9 PM ET.

-www.snakeracing.com -

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Dick LaHaie