DIXON RACES TO SEMIFINAL PERFORMANCE AT PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2006) - Larry Dixon, a two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (2002-03), raced his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a semifinal performance on Sunday at...
DIXON RACES TO SEMIFINAL PERFORMANCE AT PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 26, 2006) - Larry Dixon, a two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (2002-03), raced his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a semifinal performance on Sunday at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.
Dixon, who qualified in the No. 2 position with a 4.501-second effort, topped veteran Top Fuel racer Cory McClenathan and rising star Morgan Lucas before bowing out to Melanie Troxel in the semifinals of the 22nd annual CSK Nationals
For the second consecutive race, Dixon knocked off McClenathan in the opening round of Top Fuel eliminations. Dixon used a significant starting line advantage to drive the Miller Lite dragster to a wire-to-wire win. The Miller Lite rail used the fourth quickest pass of the round, 4.509 at 330.39, to earn the trip to the second round.
"Donnie (Bender) set the car up just like the first qualifying run on Friday and it ran like it," Dixon said. "It was pretty simple. Plus, it ran 330 (mph), so that was cool for him. That means the engine is running well."
In one of the closest matches of the day, the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year drove the Miller Lite car to a narrow victory over Lucas. Dixon used a Don Bender tune-up to power the Miller-backed dragster to a performance of 4.545 at 326.08 to just edge Lucas, who recorded a run of 4.562 at 320.66 in his Lucas Oil dragster.
"It seems like we're usually on the wrong end of those close races," Dixon said. "This time, it went our way. The car slowed down, but the weather got warmer and that probably affected our E.T."
The Miller Lite car lost traction early in the semifinal round. Dixon pedaled his dragster, but it wasn't enough to collect the come-from-behind win over Troxel, whose car also lost traction down track. Dixon recorded a run of 5.674 seconds, while Troxel advanced to the final-round with a 5.358-second run.
"We had something mechanically wrong with the car," Dixon said. "We had a problem on the warm-up and obviously, we didn't fix it. It went out and spun the tires immediately. If I had a little more track, I might have been able to catch her (Troxel). When it blows the tires off at the step, you have no wheel speed, so it's hard to catch up."
The Miller Lite team will test at Firebird Raceway on Monday in preparation for the upcoming 37th annual ACDelco Gatornationals, March 16-19, at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. Dixon is a three-time winner (1995, 2001-02) of the historic Gatornationals.