NHRA Champ No. 1 after Thursday at Winternationals. POMONA, CA (Feb. 6) -- Defending NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon couldn't have hoped for a better start to kick off his 2003 title defense as he drove his Miller Lite Dragster to a...
NHRA Champ No. 1 after Thursday at Winternationals.
POMONA, CA (Feb. 6) -- Defending NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon couldn't have hoped for a better start to kick off his 2003 title defense as he drove his Miller Lite Dragster to a lap of 4.586 seconds (313.88 mph) and earned the No. 1 spot after the first of three days of qualifying at this weekend's K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
Unveiling beautifully re-vamped paint schemes on his Miller Lite Dragster, as well as in the new-look pit hospitality area, team owner Don "the Snake" Prudhomme looked as his team patiently waited its turn to make the first pass of the season with the champion's No. 1 on the rear wing of the car. Dixon left the starting line with his typical, front-wheel carrying launch and sailed down the right lane, bettering No. 2 qualifier Tony Schumacher's run of 4.59 seconds.
"I just wanted to make a good run down the racetrack to get a baseline (tune-up) to start the season," said Dixon. "The fact that the run was a .58 and the fact that we were low today, that was icing on the cake. We weren't looking to get on the pole. It was just a nice run and a good way to start off the weekend."
Friday marks the second day of qualifying with Top Fuel and Funny Car sessions scheduled for 3:00 PM PT. It is also the final opportunity for the eight Top Fuel cars competing in Saturday's $100,000 Shootout to hone their skills before making a run at the big payday.
Dixon is also quick to try and quash any pre-season predictions that have the Miller Lite Dragster repeating as the NHRA POWERade champ. "They made pre-season predictions that the Oakland Raiders were going to win the Super Bowl," said Dixon. "It doesn't really mean anything because if we are not running good week in and week out, it doesn't matter what anyone predicts unless we go out there and get it done. What does today mean? It means we will run last during the session tomorrow. I think it's great that the people who are in the position to make predictions feel that way about us, but that doesn't guarantee us anything."
Television coverage of this weekend's qualifying will be seen on ESPN 2 on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 10:00 PM - Midnight (ET). Race day coverage will be shown Sunday, Feb. 9 from 6:30 - 9:00 PM (PT).