DIXON LOOKS TO SEND LAHAIE OFF INTO SUNSET WITH FINAL VICTORY AT NHRA FINALS POMONA, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2005) - Dateline: Pomona, Calif. Location: historic Pomona Raceway. Storyline: after 47 years of service, an industry legend heads into his...
DIXON LOOKS TO SEND LAHAIE OFF INTO SUNSET WITH FINAL VICTORY AT NHRA FINALS
POMONA, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2005) - Dateline: Pomona, Calif. Location: historic Pomona Raceway. Storyline: after 47 years of service, an industry legend heads into his final days on the job before jetting off into retirement.
While it has yet to be pegged for a Hollywood script, the final chapter of the Dick LaHaie story will come to a close at drag racing's birthplace as the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series stages the final event of the 2005 season, Nov. 3-6, at the storied Southern California drag strip with the 41st running of the Auto Club of Southern California Finals.
The dynamic tuner/driver partnership of LaHaie and two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon has proven to be one of the more formidable combinations in NHRA drag racing's rich history. LaHaie, the only Top Fuel competitor to win a championship as both a driver and crew chief, has overseen 31 of Dixon's 38 career victories, along with helping the 39-year-old Los Angeles native drive his Miller Lite dragster to consecutive Top Fuel crowns (2002-03) during a dominant two-year run that saw Dixon claim 17 NHRA wins.
"Dick (LaHaie) came aboard near the end of the 1999 season and we won in just his second or third race," Dixon said. "Right then, I saw how much talent he has and I learned what an asset a quality crew chief is to a race team. He said it would take a couple of years for us to be a championship-caliber team and at the time I didn't understand it, but he was right."
Championships are something LaHaie knows very well. The Michigan native won the 1987 NHRA Top Fuel title with a family-run, independent race team, and tuned both Scott Kalitta (1994-95) and Dixon to successive championships, totaling five titles to go along with his 61 race wins. Without a doubt stats that lead to prodigy-status.
If LaHaie can muster the right setup to master the Pomona Raceway quarter mile and the challenging field of Top Fuel competitors and send Dixon to his 39th career Top Fuel victory, then just maybe the Dicko story will be in the hands of a famous screenwriter.
"If you were writing a storybook, that would be the perfect ending," Dixon said. "I think that everybody on the team is going to try and do their part to make that happen. We'll just have to wait and see if the competition agrees with storybook endings or not."
Dixon 'Does' Pomona.
What do you like most about Pomona Raceway?
It's close to where I grew up.
What is your favorite memory from Pomona Raceway?
When we swept the race and the Shootout at the '03 Winternationals.
What is your favorite Pomona-area restaurant?
There are a lot of places that we go, but close to the track it would be El Merendero.
What do you like most about the Pomona area?
First thing that comes to mind when you hear Pomona Raceway?