Sonoma: Eliminations summary

Dixon, Scelzi, Coughlin and Scali Win At Fram-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway. Sonoma, Calif. - Larry Dixon became the fourth driver in NHRA history to sweep the three-race Western Swing Sunday at the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon...

Dixon, Scelzi, Coughlin and Scali Win At Fram-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

Sonoma, Calif. - Larry Dixon became the fourth driver in NHRA history to sweep the three-race Western Swing Sunday at the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

Gary Scelzi, Jeg Coughlin and Geno Scali also were winners in their respective categories at the $1.9 million event, the 15th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Dixon powered his Miller Lite dragster to his eighth Top Fuel victory of the season and 33rd of his career when he clocked a performance of 4.640 seconds at 319.67 mph to outdistance first-time finalist David Baca, who recorded a run of 4.805 at 298.47 in his American Racing Wheels dragster.

"It feels unbelievable," said Dixon. "This feels like going through the Iron Man Triathalon and coming out on the right side. I give all the credit here to the guys on the team. Those same crew guys are the ones that log all those miles from Denver to Seattle to here at Infineon."

Dixon used a consistent tune-up to defeat John Smith, Tony Schumacher and Rhonda Hartman-Smith before defeating Baca in the final round. With the victory, Dixon extended his lead in the POWERade points standings to 310 points over Doug Kalitta.

Scelzi became the 13th driver in NHRA history to earn victories in both nitro categories when he drove his Oakley Dodge Stratus to his first career Funny Car victory. Scelzi, a 25-time Top Fuel winner, used a run of 4.958 at 312.21 to edge Dean Skuza in the final round. Skuza clocked a pass of 4.966 at 306.74 behind the wheel of his Meat Loaf-themed Pontiac Firebird Funny Car.

"It's pretty incredible," said Scelzi. "This is the whole reason why I race, to win. I didn't want to drive just any car. I wanted to drive a car that was capable of winning and I really wanted to be with Schumacher Racing. I always felt I could drive anything with four wheels and I felt I could win. It's great to get this thing off our backs and prove we could win."

Scelzi knocked off teammates Scotty Cannon and Whit Bazemore in the first two rounds, then 12-time champion John Force in the semifinals before besting Skuza in the finals.

Funny Car points leader Tony Pedregon lost in the opening round for the third consecutive week. However, he still leads Bazemore by 44 points.

Jeg Coughlin raced to his first victory of the season and 32nd of his career by using a starting-line advantage to defeat Pro Stock points leader Greg Anderson. Coughlin drove his Jeg's Mail Order Chevy Cavalier to a run of 6.839 at 201.07 to knock off Anderson's quicker, but losing 6.798 at 203.37 in his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am.

"It certainly feels great," said Coughlin. "This racetrack is a lot of fun to run on and the fans here are great. We've had some good runs here the last couple of years and come up short. We knew we had our work cut out for us and we knew we'd have to pull a couple tricks out of our hat against Greg."

Coughlin defeated Greg Stanfield, Dave Connolly and Allen Johnson before holding off Anderson in the final. With the victory, Coughlin moved to third place in the Pro Stock points standings. Anderson leads Kurt Johnson by 139 points.

Scali extended his lead in the Pro Stock Bike standings by defeating Andrew Hines. Scali rode his Trim-Tex Suzuki to a run of 7.177 at 189.68 to hold off Hines' Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, which recorded a run of 7.264 at 180.48.

"You start beliving in the championship when you're 188 points ahead," said Scali. "The No. 2 person (Angelle Savoie) went out in the first round, the No. 3 person (Shawn Gann) went out in the first round and you're like is this real or what? I am happy we were able to take advantage of the opportunity. I really have to pinch myself after today."

Scali recorded victories over Sean Conner, Antron Brown and No. 1 qualifier Craig Treble before his victory over Hines in the final round. Scali now leads Angelle Savoie by 188 points in the Pro Stock Bike standings.

The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 22nd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 14-17, at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn.

-nhra-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Rhonda Hartman-Smith , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Shawn Gann , David Baca , Scotty Cannon , Craig Treble , Greg Stanfield , Geno Scali , Allen Johnson , Andrew Hines , Dave Connolly