Joliet II: Larry Dixon Saturday summary

Defending champ Larry Dixon runs strong in the windy city JOLIET, ILL. (SEPT. 27th) -- Defending Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon and the Snake Racing team qualified No.4 headed into tomorrow's final elimination round at the third annual CARQUEST ...

Defending champ Larry Dixon runs strong in the windy city

JOLIET, ILL. (SEPT. 27th) -- Defending Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon and the Snake Racing team qualified No.4 headed into tomorrow's final elimination round at the third annual CARQUEST Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Dixon drove the Miller Lite dragster to a 4.507 second run at a speed of 332.10 mph during the first qualifying session Saturday.

Due to rain NHRA officials were forced to cancel both qualifying sessions Friday, leaving teams with two crucial rounds of qualifying today. Fortunately the weather cooperated and thousands of NHRA fans enjoyed a full day of racing.

Dixon's first run produced an impressive time and speed of 4.507 seconds at 332.10 mph. In the opposite lane Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools dragster narrowly defeated Dixon with a run that set the new NHRA national speed record at 333.00 mph. His speed of 332.10 mph nearly matched a record the Defending Champ had set in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Dixon's fastest times in 2003 year include a run in Las Vegas, setting the NHRA national record at 332.75 mph, followed by a run in June at Route 66 posting 328.86 mph and a run in Topeka posting 329.67 mph.

The Miller Lite driver has qualified among the top four dragsters 14 of 18 races this year and improved his qualified streak to 30. However Snake Racing crew chief Dick LaHaie is still irritated. "It doesn't respond," said LaHaie, "and I've changed almost everything. I have tried to run a 4.40 for over three years now, it's never done it and it's really starting to aggravate me."

The Dick LaHaie-led Miller Lite/Mac Tools team ended the day with a time of 4.549 seconds at 329.91 mph, placing the Miller Lite dragster in the No.4 spot for Sunday. Dixon will pair against No.13 qualifier Darrell Russell tomorrow in the first round of Sunday eliminations. The Miller Lite/Lucas Oil dragster has a successful 14-3 career record against Russell.

Sunday's pre-race ceremonies begin at 10:00 AM and eliminations at 11:00 AM CT. Tomorrow catch ESPN2 for early qualifying coverage at 1:30-3:30 AM ET and eliminations from 8:00-10:30 PM ET.

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Dick LaHaie