JOLIET,ILL (Sept. 25) - Larry Dixon is on a roll. He has piloted Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster to the final round at each of the last three national events-winning two out of three- and has continued to hold the Top Fuel points lead since...
JOLIET,ILL (Sept. 25) - Larry Dixon is on a roll. He has piloted Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster to the final round at each of the last three national events-winning two out of three- and has continued to hold the Top Fuel points lead since winning his fourth race of the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season at Brainerd, Minn. (August 19).
During that span, Dixon and his much-heralded Crew Chief Dick LaHaie, have amassed an impressive 280 points out of a possible 300 on race day, and produced two No. 1 qualifying efforts for an additional 36 points. But in spite of the Snake Racing Miller Lite team's recent dominance, they remain in the middle of a dogfight with nemesis Kenny Bernstein who trails Dixon by just 27 points with only five races remaining on the schedule.
"The wayI look at it, it's like being in the NBA Finals and you're at the foul line trying to shoot free throws," said Dixon. "You can strain and grunt all you want to, but you still need to put the ball through the hoop. Everybody handles pressure differently, but I am going to just keep doing what I've been doing all season long to get us to this point."
This weekend's Inaugural NHRA Nationals (Sept. 28-30), the first national event to take place in the fall at Route 66 Raceway since its 1998 debut, could see Dixon continue his onslaught on the rest of the Top Fuel class. The 34-year-old, seven-year veteran driver is poised for a win at Joliet after having posted a runner-up finish there in 2000, as well as a No. 2 qualifying effort en route to a semifinal finish earlier this season (June 1-3).
"Going into this weekend's race, I have the mindset that we need to qualify and qualify well, and then try to win some rounds. I think that we have been running pretty well for the last month and a half, winning two out of three races. We had some gremlins in our engine last weekend and we should have lost in the second round, so I think we were pretty lucky to get to the finals. But I have never won this many races in a season before (5), gone to this many finals (8), or had the points lead this late in the year, so this is really fun right now."
"Normally I would be concerned about the conditions at Joliet this time of year, but there's a cold front in the mid west right now that could help us see some near national record times broken this weekend," said Dixon.
<pre> Larry Dixon Appearance & Racing Schedule Below is the tentative schedule for Larry Dixon for this weekend's NHRA Nationals.
Date & Time Location Wed, 9/26 Noon-200p NHRA pre-race press conference, Harry Caray's, 33 West Kinzie St. Chicago, (312) 828-0966
Wed, 9/26 700-845p Alfa Romano's, 2314 W. Jefferson, Joliet, IL
Thur, 9/27 700-845p Thunderbowl, 18700 S. Old LaGrange Rd, Mokena, IL
Fri, 9/28 400-700p Qualifying session #1 & #2
Sat, 9/29 100-400p Qualifying sessions #3 & #4
Sun, 9/30 1100a Final eliminations
NHRA on Television This Weekend Date & Time (ET) Network Coverage Sept. 27, 530-600p ESPN2 NHRAHeat Sept. 29, 1000-1100a ESPN 2 Qualifying Sept. 30, 600-730p ESPN2 Eliminations Sept. 30, 830-1000p ESPN2 Eliminations