From The Snake Pit
Championship Contender Larry Dixon & Miller Lite Dragster Qualify Third After First Day At Pomona Raceway
POMONA, CA (Nov. 8) The first day of qualifying at the NHRA's season-finale AAA of Southern California Nationals saw Larry Dixon drive Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster to the No. 3 position Thursday with his lap of 4.575 seconds at 317.05 mph.
Dixon, who is in a two-way battle for this year'sTop Fuel crown, entered this weekend's event sitting second in the championship points race as he is only 54 points behind leader Kenny Bernstein.
In his two previous trips to Pomona earlier this year, Dixon has qualified third (Winternationals) and fourth (NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals) and went on to post semifinal round finishes at both events. For the season, Dixon has qualified among the top four cars at 20 of the 23 races and is averaging better than a semifinal round finish on race day. He has an average No. 3 qualifying effort for the year (3.08) and has qualified no lower than ninth this season.
"You always want to leave the house being the number-one guy, and we are not and Bernstein is, but he blew his stuff up to do it," said team owner Prudhomme who was recently named the No. 3 driver in NHRA history. "We still have got some runs tomorrow and Saturday. It's not (crew chief) Dick LaHaie's style to go out there and lay it all out on one shot, so I feel just fine. It's kind of hard to say, I mean, the car is qualified well with a 4.57 and that isn't too shabby."
Dixon's success in qualifying has him as the No. 2 seed in Saturday's Top Fuel Shootout where he is slated for a first-round meeting with No. 7 seed Tony Schumacher. Dixon has qualified for the $100,000 winner-take-all specialty event ineach of his seven seasons as a professional driver.
Two days of qualifying remain with one session scheduled for Friday at 3:00 PM (PT). Two more rounds of qualifying will be intertwined with the running of the Top Fuel Shootout on Saturday, with runs scheduled for 12:45, 3:00 and 4:45PM (PT).
Television coverage of this week's race begins Saturday on ESPN with qualifying round coverage airing from 4:00-6:00 PM (ET). The Top Fuel Shootout will air on ESPN 2 on Saturday from 11:00 PM Midnight (ET), while the elimination rounds can be seen Sunday on ESPN 2 from 7:00-10:00 PM (ET).