Reading: Larry Dixon preview

DIXON AND MILLER LITE CREW TO CONTINUE CHARGE TOWARDS 2005 TITLE AT READING MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 12, 2005) -- The plot is a bit different this time around for Larry Dixon and his Miller Lite race team. When the two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion...

DIXON AND MILLER LITE CREW TO CONTINUE CHARGE TOWARDS 2005 TITLE AT READING

MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 12, 2005) -- The plot is a bit different this time around for Larry Dixon and his Miller Lite race team. When the two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion raced to consecutive NHRA titles in 2002-03, Dixon and his Dick LaHaie-led race crew dominated the Top Fuel ranks winning 17 races in two seasons on the way to claiming successive Top Fuel crowns.

If Dixon and Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's Miller Lite/Ameriquest team are to claim a third NHRA title in four seasons, the 38-time NHRA winner has to play the role of the hunter, rather than looking over his shoulder at his nearest Top Fuel rivals. As the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series resumes for the annual fall event at Maple Grove Raceway, Sept. 15-18, near Reading, Pa., Dixon enters the final five events on the 2005 NHRA schedule 79 points behind points leader Tony Schumacher. Riding a wave of momentum following his third career U.S. Nationals victory two weeks ago in Indianapolis, Dixon is well aware of the magnitude of chipping away at the four-round point deficit during the final three-race swing of the 2005 season that carries the NHRA pros from Reading to Dallas and J! oliet, Ill.

"We're basically 80 points out of first place and after these next three races, if we're to have a shot at the title, we need to cut that number in half," Dixon said. "After the next three, we need to be less than 40 points out going into (Las) Vegas to have a real shot at winning the championship. If we have the same car and package that we had at Indy (Mac Tools U.S. Nationals), then we should be able to do that.

"I think that '01 was different because we led and then were behind, and in 2002 and '03, I don't think we didn't lead. This year, the highest we've been (in the standings) is third. From my standpoint, you're hoping that you haven't peaked and that you'll peak towards the end of the season, and we'll have to if we're going to have any chance to move up further in the standings."

If the action/drama better known as the 2005 NHRA Top Fuel division plays out the way Dixon and the Miller Lite/Lucas Oil team hope for, then the veteran Top Fuel pilot will be the last man standing come season's end on November 6 in Pomona, Calif. with the $400,000 bonus prize proudly in hand.

DIXON 'DOES' READING ...

What do you like most about Maple Grove Raceway?

It's one of the few tracks on the schedule that my dad raced at when I was a kid. I remember going there as a kid for points meets. They have the swimming pool and playground across the way. It reminds me of the layout of Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green (Ky.).

What is your favorite memory from Maple Grove Raceway?

I would say when Snake won at Reading in 1991. Up to that point, I don't think (Joe) Amato had won at his home track. We ran good all day and ended up winning and kept Joe (Amato) from going to the winner's circle at his home race for at least a few more years.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Mom Chaffe's in Reading.

When you hear 'Maple Grove Raceway' the first thing that comes to mind is?

It's one of the premier Division One tracks, along with Englishtown (N.J.).

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Dick LaHaie