DIXON CAPTURES 36TH CAREER VICTORY; NO. 100 FOR TEAM OWNER DON PRUDHOMME LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon raced his Miller Lite dragster to his 36th career NHRA Top Fuel victory and moved into third place...
DIXON CAPTURES 36TH CAREER VICTORY; NO. 100 FOR TEAM OWNER DON PRUDHOMME
LAS VEGAS (April 17, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon raced his Miller Lite dragster to his 36th career NHRA Top Fuel victory and moved into third place on the all-time Top Fuel wins list Sunday at the The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dixon's win was the 100th victory of team owner Don 'the Snake' Prudhomme's illustrious racing career.
Dixon defeated Mike Strasburg, Brandon Bernstein and David Grubnic, before edging Doug Kalitta in the Top Fuel Final.
"The guys on the team, Dicko (LaHaie) and everybody, they make it happen," Dixon said. "I'm just the lucky guy that gets to drive the thing."
Dixon posted his best qualifying outing of the 2005 season when he blasted his LaHaie-tuned rail to a run of 4.504-seconds to claim the No. 2 qualifying spot. The 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year powered to a run of 4.618-seconds at 326.48 mph to best a tire-smoking Mike Strasburg in the opening round of eliminations. In round two, Dixon drove to a performance of 4.657 at 318.92 to knock off rival Brandon Bernstein. Dixon then powered his Miller Lite/Ameriquest rail to a run of 4.742 at 303.90 mph to knock off rising star David Grubnic. It was the third time in five races in which Dixon and Grubnic have met during eliminations this season. In the final round, Dixon used the second best reaction time of eliminations to score the wire-to-wire victory over fellow Mac Tools racer Doug Kalitta with a 4.591-second elapsed time, his best of eliminations. Dixon's first win of 2005 vaulted him to third place in the POWERade Top Fuel standings. He sits 68 points from first place.
"If we have a strong enough race car, than we'll be able to compete for the title," Dixon said. "I'm not worried about points at this point of the season. If we run well and go rounds, that will take care of itself.
"I'm just happy for Snake, and I'm happy for Dicko too. He worked really hard over the winter to pick up the performance of our race car. We've had a good car all year, but we've just had a few mishaps that have kept us from showing how good we can be."
This marks the fourth consecutive season where Dixon and his Miller Lite/Lucas Oil team have advanced to the final round at the spring Las Vegas event. Dixon scored the win at The Strip in 2002 and '03, before posting a runner-up finish last April. Dixon has four career victories at Bruton Smith's Las Vegas facility.
"I like to see the look on Snake's face and the look on Larry's (Dixon) face when he comes back after the run," LaHaie said. "We just take it from one race to the next. It was great to see the car run well today. All the runs that we made on Saturday were unsuccessful, but the data that we got from those runs helped us to adjust for today's conditions."
Dixon and the Miller Lite Top Fuel team will next compete at the Fifth annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, April 29-May 1, at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. Dixon won the Bristol race in 2002.