Reading: Dixon, LaHaie eye Reading's Maple Grove Raceway

Originally-From: AllumPR@aol.com READING, PA (Sept. 11) - What a difference a year has made for Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team. At this point last season, Dixon came into Reading on the heels of a ...

Originally-From: AllumPR@aol.com

READING, PA (Sept. 11) - What a difference a year has made for Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team.

At this point last season, Dixon came into Reading on the heels of a disappointing "DNQ" at the U.S. Nationals due to mechanical problems that did not reveal themselves until testing at Indianapolis Raceway Park later that week. In spite of missing out on the much needed points that Indy had to offer, Dixon entered Maple Grove Raceway ranked eighth in the Top Fuel points race, but just 81 points out of first.

The trip to Reading this year for the 16th Annual Keystone Nationals (Sept. 14-17) again sees Dixon within striking range of the Winston Championship as he sits third in the standings, 102 points behind leader Tony Schumacher. But what sets this year apart from last is Crew Chief Dick LaHaie, who has orchestrated a consistent tune-up for the Miller Lite/ Raybestos Dragster all season, reaching the semifinal round at 11 of the 17 races this year-an average that Dixon will likely need to keep pace with if he is to continue to vie for the Winston crown.

"I really enjoy coming to Reading, and even though I have not won here, Snake has, so Maple Grove does bring back some good memories," said Dixon. Other than Snake's win in 1991, the second generation driver's best memory of his own here was in 1995 when he saw his Miller Genuine Draft Dragster post a runner-up finish to Scott Kalitta. Ironically, it was LaHaie who tuned Kalitta past Dixon for the win that year, giving him a total of three trips to Maple Grove's winner's circle with two titles of his own as a driver in 1986 and 1987.

"The weather here normally makes the track very fast and makes for some great racing. Performance wise, we need to pick up the pace a little bit, and I am sure that Dick will find a way to do that. He has had a lot of success here in the past and I hope that some of that will carry over for us this weekend. If we can go some rounds this week, we will be in good shape."

Dixon's Career Results in Reading Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Keystone Nationals No. 5 Runner-up- S. Kalitta 1996 Keystone Nationals No. 13 Semifinals-K. Bernstein 1997 Keystone Nationals No. 4 Second round-K. Bernstein 1998 Keystone Nationals No. 11 First round-J. Amato 1999 Keystone Nationals No. 12 First round-K. Bernstein

2000 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1.  Tony Schumacher     1,364    
2.  Gary Scelzi         1,333       31 out
3.  LARRY DIXON         1,262       102 out
4.  Kenny Bernstein     1,067       297 out
5.  Doug Kalitta        1,065       299 out
6.  Joe Amato           1,058       306 out
7.  Cory McClenathan      847         517 out
8.  Bob Vandergriff Jr.   716         648 out
9.  Doug Herbert          691         673 out
10. Don Lampus            665         699 out

Larry Dixon to Meet with Reading Area Drag Race Fans NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon will be appearing this week in the Reading area where he will be meeting and signing autographs for local drag racing fans. Below is a tentative schedule for Dixon leading up to the 16th Annual Keystone Nationals:

Date & Time                     Location
Thur, 9/14  7-8 p.m.            California Bar & Grill, 699 Mt. View Rd, 
                                (610) 777-7224,  phone
Fri, 9/15   3:30/7:30 p.m.          Qualifying sessions #1 & #2
Sat, 9/16   Noon & 4                Qualifying sessions #3 & #4     
Sun, 9/17    11:00 a.m.             Eliminations begin    

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Scott Kalitta , Don Prudhomme , Don Lampus , Bob Vandergriff