DIXON PASSES GARLITS, WINS 100TH FOR TEAM OWNER PRUDHOMME Bazemore, Connolly also pick up wins at NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals LAS VEGAS -- Larry Dixon moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time career Top Fuel wins list ...
DIXON PASSES GARLITS, WINS 100TH FOR TEAM OWNER PRUDHOMME
Bazemore, Connolly also pick up wins at NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals
LAS VEGAS -- Larry Dixon moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time career Top Fuel wins list Sunday by winning the sixth annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dixon's 36th career win (Joe Amato tops the all-time wins list with 52, Kenny Bernstein has 39) in his Miller Lite dragster moved him clear of drag racing legend Don Garlits (35 wins). It was also noteworthy for team owner Don Prudhomme, who claimed his 100th NHRA victory.
"I think it's way cool to get 100 wins for Snake (Prudhomme)," Dixon said. "I (remember) he had like 30-something wins and he was still racking them up. To be here now talking about 100 wins for Snake makes me feel very old all of a sudden."
Prudhomme had 49 wins as a driver (35 Funny Car, 14 Top Fuel) and now has 51 as a team owner.
"One-hundred is great, it's wonderful, but it's not like we're going to retire," Prudhomme said. "How much longer are we going to keep doing this? Until hell freezes over."
Dixon was the No. 2 qualifier and he turned in a 4.591-second pass at 326.40 mph in the final round to earn the win over No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta in his Mac Tools dragster.
The other winners at the $1.8 million race were Whit Bazemore in Funny Car and 22-year-old Dave Connolly in Pro Stock, each of whom became the first repeat winner in his respective category this season.
Bazemore nosed out first-time finalist Tony Bartone by powering his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus to a pass of 4.976 at 315.12 mph for his 19th career win.
"I didn't really feel any pressure today because I was under so much yesterday that I think I used it all up," said Bazemore, who didn't qualify for the race until his final qualifying run Saturday. "I was thinking that even if we lost in the first round we were still 20 points better than it looked like it was going to be. I have to admit, I was really nervous yesterday afternoon."
It was the second win of the 2005 season for Bazemore (401 points) and it moved him ahead of John Force (340) after the fifth of 23 events on the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"I watched (teammate Ron) Capps take out (John) Force in the first round right in front of me and I knew we had a tremendous opportunity in front of us," he said. "It was hard to focus. But the guys came through and we managed to take out a great-running car in the final."
Connolly (428), who supplanted Warren Johnson (419) atop the Pro Stock point standings, ended Greg Anderson's four-event and 19-round win streak in Las Vegas by turning in a 6.879 pass at 201.46 in his Bullet Motorsports Chevy Cavalier. It's the fourth time in his five career wins that Connolly has beaten Anderson.
"It seems like Greg's always over there in the other lane," Connolly said of Anderson, the two-time defending Pro Stock champion. "To outrun him in a final round says a lot because that's a great team over there. He's the champ and the guy we're all chasing. But I guess he didn't scare us all away over the winter. We just went to work."
The series now moves to Bristol, Tenn. For the fifth annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, which will be held April 29 to May 1.