Madison: Larry Dixon preview

Snake Racing/Miller Lite Team uses same race strategy. ST. LOUIS (June 25) - With a gigantic 259-point lead, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Snake Racing/Miller Lite team and driving ace, Larry Dixon will be taking the same race strategy...

Snake Racing/Miller Lite Team uses same race strategy.

ST. LOUIS (June 25) - With a gigantic 259-point lead, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Snake Racing/Miller Lite team and driving ace, Larry Dixon will be taking the same race strategy into St. Louis as they have at every other NHRA National event. Make sure they qualify for the event, and then attempt to beat their first round opponent just like they will in Sunday's sixth annual Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.

It's not earth-shattering news, but just the way they have methodically gone about their business in the 2002 POWERade drag racing series. The only reverberation you will hear from the Miller Lite team is Dick LaHaie's signature tune-up making a thundering sound.

"All you have to do is look back to last year when (Funny Car driver), John Force had a 350-point lead in the middle of summer and everybody else was writing their season off. Everybody but Whit Bazemore and their team, that is," said Dixon. "At the time, Whit wasn't even in second place so he was further back in the points and they ended up closing it up to within a race of points by the finals in Pomona, Ca. So I'm going into the race trying to win like every other team and if we're fortunate enough to win, then we've scored more points than everybody else."

"And then we're on to the next one," said Dixon. "I can't do anything about points. All we can do is win the round and before that make a good qualifying run. If we do well in both areas, we'll be awarded with the points. The points are just bonus points. They are points that you can hopefully cash in at the end of the year. It ain't the end of the year; it's just the middle of the summer."

Along that line of attack, Dixon's Miller Lite/Mac Tools dragster has yet to win at the nearby St. Louis track. With a previous best semi-finals appearance in 2000 the young driver remains undeterred from overcoming these impediments. "I don't think of it as a track that we've had trouble taming," said the current Top Fuel point leader. "I think we had a real strong car there last year (Qualifying No. 2) and we went out there, shook and went into tire smoke second round. All we can do is put forth the effort and see if we end up with the results."

Should Larry Dixon should reach the finals at GIR, it would set the precedent for the most consecutive Top Fuel final round appearances with seven - breaking the tie with Scott Kalitta ('94) and Cory McClenathan ('97).

"When you get into warm, very hot conditions and not the best track settings, Dick LaHaie seems to have a handle on that stuff," said Dixon. "There isn't anybody else in the world I would have tuning my race car when you go to a hot and humid racetrack than Dick LaHaie. We haven't dealt with really hot and humid conditions yet this year, but it seemed to be working its way towards that in Columbus. We went down the racetrack fairly well on race day and I would hope what he learned in Columbus two weeks ago would apply somewhat when we go to St. Louis."

ESPN2 will air qualifying highlights starting on Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. with final round coverage of the sixth annual Craftsman Nationals starting at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 30.

-www.snakeracing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Dick LaHaie