DIXON AIMS FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE AT RECORD-SETTING JOLIET TRACK JOLIET, Ill. (June 6, 2006) -- There are a handful of race tracks on the 21-track NHRA circuit in which professional race teams know will offer the opportunity to potentially...
DIXON AIMS FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE AT RECORD-SETTING JOLIET TRACK
JOLIET, Ill. (June 6, 2006) -- There are a handful of race tracks on the 21-track NHRA circuit in which professional race teams know will offer the opportunity to potentially record a career-best performance or challenge for an NHRA national record. At the top of that list is Route 66 Raceway near Chicago. Be it the track surface, low elevation, weather conditions or a combination of all those elements, but the Joliet, Ill. drag s! trip regularly surrenders jaw-dropping performances from the best drag racing has to offer.
Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Top Fuel team enter the 10th race of the 2006 season looking to hit their stride as they hope to jump back into the championship mix for drag racing's elite division, Top Fuel. Dixon and first-year tuner Don Bender have strengthened their talented squad with the addition of veteran crew chief Todd Smith who will aid Bender with the tuning decisions on the Miller-backed rail beginning at this weekend's running of the ninth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals, June 8-11, at Route 66 Raceway.
"I'm looking forward to this weekend with Todd (Smith) coming on board to our team," Dixon said. "I think every great team that's come along in drag racing, the main guy has always had a sidekick whether it's Austin (Coil) and Bernie (Fedderly) or Tim (Richards) and Kim (Richards) or Dicko (LaHaie) and Donnie (Bender). Todd is coming in to help our depth chart, and I think he'll make our team stronger."
Dixon, who won the Joliet race in 2002, enters the race ranked fifth in the Top Fuel category, and as the NHRA series embarks on the first three-race swing of the 2006 season Dixon and his Miller Lite/Lucas Oil team are aware of what's at stake if they can have a solid showing at the next three races before the NHRA schedule takes a two-week summer vacation to gear up for the second half of 2006. With the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-70s, the potential for stellar performance numbers will be on the table for all race teams to take a shot at.
"Joliet is a great race track and a great facility," Dixon said. "There again, I think performance is determined more by the weather than the track surface. So, if it's cool like we've seen in the past, you can have national records set, but if it's hot, you'll see some side-by-side tire-smoking matches. Either way, it will produce some drama.
"From a driver's standpoint, if you get into a tire-smoking race, at that point it's all in the driver's hands. You obviously want to win those. I take those losses as hard as I take holeshot losses because it's on the driver to get it down the track. If you win them, it's great and if you lose them, it's terrible."
Whatever it takes to get the win light is all the matters to Dixon. If it's a career-best elapsed time, great, but if it's a pedal-fest or a mid-4.50 that earns four win lights, the points count just the same. There are no ugly victories in drag racing, and Dixon hopes career victory No. 39 happens on Sunday afternoon in Joliet.