Phoenix: Final eliminations report

DIXON PICKS UP FIRST WIN OF 2008 AT SITE OF FIRST CAREER WIN; BECKMAN, GAINES ALSO WINNERS AT CHECKER SCHUCK'S KRAGEN NHRA NATIONALS CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Returning to the site of his first career victory, Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon raced to...

DIXON PICKS UP FIRST WIN OF 2008 AT SITE OF FIRST CAREER WIN; BECKMAN, GAINES ALSO WINNERS AT CHECKER SCHUCK'S KRAGEN NHRA NATIONALS

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Returning to the site of his first career victory, Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon raced to his first win of the season during Sunday's finals at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Jack Beckman and V Gaines also were winners at the second NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of the 2008 season.

Dixon drove his U.S. Smokeless Tobacco dragster to a 4.532 second, 327.19 mph victory over runner-up Dave Grubnic, to pick up his first win of the season, second at Firebird, and 42nd of his career. The win ties him with Tony Schumacher for 9th on the NHRA all time wins list and second overall in Top Fuel.

"Any time you get a win it's special," Dixon said. "Donnie Bender (crew chief) has been on our team since 1999 and he's never been on a car that's won here. When you think about that, it would be nice to get that one out of the way. I'm dedicating this win to him."

Defending POWERade Series world champion Tony Schumacher collected his first semifinal finish of the season after losing to Dixon on a holeshot, while two-time defending event winner "Hot Rod" Fuller's day was cut short after falling to Grubnic in the semifinals.

Still recovering from a bad case of the flu, Beckman drove his Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T to a 4.868 second run at 320.20 mph past runner-up Robert Hight, collecting his first win in Phoenix and fourth career win.

"I guess the flu this year is immune to (flu shots)," Beckman said. "You get up in the morning and you just feel bad and you look at the back of the cold medicine and it says do not operate heavy machinery and I'm not sure if that counts as a nitro Funny Car, so I didn't want to take anything, but after the second round I finally had to take some Tylenol."

It was a tough first round for many Funny Car drivers, with defending event and POWERade Series world champion Tony Pedregon, 2003 Phoenix winner Ron Capps, and 14-time world champion John Force all falling early.

V. Gaines grabbed his first win in seven years, driving his Kendall Dodge Stratus to a 6.702 at 205.38 run past 2006 POWERade Series world champion Jason Line. Gaines' last win came against Tom Hammonds in Dallas in 2001.

"It's been a long dry spell," Gaines said. "They said when I beat Greg Anderson (in the semifinals) that this was the first time I'd beat him since 2001, so that's bitter sweet."

Though he lost in the second round to Gaines, three-time world champion Greg Anderson kept his point lead in Pro Stock heading into Gainesville.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Tom Hammonds , Jack Beckman , Jason Line , Robert Hight