Las Vegas II: Larry Dixon event report

From The Snake Pit Larry Dixon's NHRA Top Fuel Championship Hopes All Hinge On Pomona After Second Round Finish At The Strip In Las Vegas LAS VEGAS (Oct. 28) With his second round finish at Sunday's AC Delco NHRA Nationals, Larry Dixon and Don...

From The Snake Pit
Larry Dixon's NHRA Top Fuel Championship Hopes All Hinge On Pomona After Second Round Finish At The Strip In Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 28) With his second round finish at Sunday's AC Delco NHRA Nationals, Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster find themselves 54 points out of the Winston Top Fuel points lead heading into the season finale in Pomona, Calif., in two weeks.

Dixon began the day as the No. 1 qualifier and had an opening round meeting with No. 16 Brady Kalivoda. The Miller Lite Team kept Top Fuel's longest current first round win streak intact (25) as Kalivoda could not answer the bell due to a malfunctioning air system. Dixon used the single run to post low elapsed time of the first round with a lap of 4.536 seconds at 323.97 mph. With the win, Dixon is 1-0 against Kalivoda after their first career meeting.

"The best thing about a single is that it's an automatic win," said Dixon. "It gets you to the second round and you don't have to worry about anything. You can make a great run or you can make a bad run and it doesn't matter because you already got the win light. It is a good opportunity to learn things. Any automatic round win that you get gets you one step closer to winning the race."

The second round paired Dixon against No. 9 qualifier Don Lampus. In an unexpected and shocking surprise, Dixon's Top Fuel car smoked the tires at the hit of the throttle with an unlit cylinder and the 6,500 horsepower ride was unable to recover. Dixon's pass of 5.039 seconds at 265.74 mph fell to Lampus' upset run of 4.677 seconds at 315.71. The Miller Lite Team's string of second round finishes at The Strip continued as they have yet to advance past the quarterfinals in the three-event history of the Las Vegas race.

"I didn't even cross my mind or think that was a factor," said Dixon. "I don't think there is any comparison to what happened in today's second round and what happened the last time we were here. After we got through qualifying we had the best car but we had a cylinder go out early and when it came back on, when you kick on 700 or 800 horsepower which is what each one of the cylinders produces in our cars, it was too much for that point of the race track and it just pulled the tires loose."

"What it came down to going into these last three races, we were less than three rounds out, so if we won all three races and Kenny (Bernstein) went to the finals of all three, it wouldn't matter because we would pass him and we would have the points title," said Dixon. "Well, we did well at Dallas, but didn't get it done here, so now your relying on him to have some bad luck at the last race for us to even have a shot. And we still have to go out and win. We can't really control anything that goes on with them, we can just go into the last race and try and win and see what happens."

"We won Indy this year," Dixon commented on his accomplishments this season. "From a performance standpoint, to have only gone to Indy and been competing since 1995 and to have two wins already there, that's the one that all the hardcore fans and racers look at. I am very proud of that and it kind of proves that the first one wasn't a fluke. Also, we won six events so far this year and up until last year (Gary Scelzi, 9) no one had ever won more than six. We have had a strong year and we have just got to try and make it seven next week."

"I am not quitting," said Dixon of the task ahead. "I am racing the next race to win. I race every race to win. Until they tell us that we are out of it, we're in it, so all you can do is go into the next race and try and win it."

Meanwhile, Dixon's Snake Racing teammate Ron Capps drove the Skoal Racing/Miller Lite Chevy Camaro Funny Car to the winner's circle with his first career win at The Strip over Bob Gilbertson.

The Miller Lite Team takes a week off before heading to Pomona, California for the season-ending NHRA World Finals (Nov. 8-11). Dixon and crew are still mathematically alive for the Top Fuel championship going into the last event of the year. Without taking bonus points for national records, or possible deductions for oil downs, Dixon must win the last race of the season while Bernstein needs to bow out no later than the second round if the Miller Lite Dragster is to take its first Winston Championship.

- www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Bob Gilbertson , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Don Prudhomme , Don Lampus , Brady Kalivoda