MADISON, IL (June 24, 2000) - Just .005 of a second kept the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster from reaching its fifth final round of the season as Larry Dixon posted a career-best semifinal finish Saturday at the 4th Annual Sears ...
MADISON, IL (June 24, 2000) - Just .005 of a second kept the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster from reaching its fifth final round of the season as Larry Dixon posted a career-best semifinal finish Saturday at the 4th Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway.
Number 10 seeded Dixon began the day with a first round win, the second of his career in two total meetings, over No. 7 Don Lampus. Dixon's first round winning elapsed time of 4.734 seconds at 304 mph bettered Lampus' time of 4.82 seconds and proved to be the quickest overall in the first round of top fuel competition. His reaction time in the opening round victory (.465) also was the best of the class.
Dixon's second round saw him defeat Joe Hartley in the first career meeting between the two pilots. The Miller Lite ride used a time of 4.67 seconds to defeat Hartley's 5.24-second pass. For his effort, Dixon advanced to the semifinals for the eighth time out of the first 11 events this season.
It was a familiar opponent for Dixon in the "final four" round as he met Kenny Bernstein for the 21st time in their careers and the fifth time this season. With only .001 of a second difference off the starting line, the two drivers would run neck-and-neck only to see Dixon's season mark slip to 3 wins and 2 losses against Bernstein this season as a time of 4.661 beat a 4.666.
"This was really tough," said a disappointed Dixon. "We made a killer run, had killer lights and we were still sent home packing. When you see us win a tight race and the win light comes on and all the crew guys are jumping up and down on the starting line. well, when you lose a tight race it is just the opposite feeling. If I had a cat right now I would kick it to Bristol." Crew chief Dick LaHaie echoed his driver's feelings. "Some races you can not do anything wrong and win races and then there are times when you can do everything right and still lose."
Gary Scelzi won the top fuel title. With his semifinal finish, Dixon (864) remains third in the Winston points race, just 127 points behind Scelzi (991). The Miller Lite Team takes a week off before heading to the Winston Showdown (July 7-9) at Bristol, Tenn.