Topeka: Dixon Friday notes

TOPEKA, KS (May 25) - Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team overcame nagging clutch problems in-between qualifying sessions Friday as Larry Dixon's best run of the day (4.630 seconds at 317.72 mph) put him in the No. 7 position after the first...

TOPEKA, KS (May 25) - Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team overcame nagging clutch problems in-between qualifying sessions Friday as Larry Dixon's best run of the day (4.630 seconds at 317.72 mph) put him in the No. 7 position after the first day at Heartland Park Topeka.

Dixon and crew chief Dick LaHaie began this weekend's Advance Auto Parts Nationals looking to find solutions to the problems that infiltrated the Miller Lite Dragster's' clutch system which ended Dixon's race in the semifinals last week in Englishtown, NJ.

The opening session did not provide the answers they were looking for however as problems continued in the clutch cannon as Dixon shut off early to a time of 4.819 seconds at 267.91 mph.

"I shut off around half-track in the first session because I could tell the car wasn't running right," said Dixon. "The clutch cannon broke again just like it did in Englishtown. There was no reason for me to stay with the run while we were having the clutch malfunction."

So in an effort to get over the reoccurring obstacle, LaHaie and the Miller Lite Team went to work and replaced the entire clutch system before the second round. It turned out to be the right call as Dixon went out in the evening round and laid down an elapsed time of 4.630 seconds to pick up nearly .2 on his previous run. He now sits just .135 behind early pole sitter Mike Dunn (4.49) going into Saturday's two remaining qualifying sessions.

"We had to replace the whole clutch system for the second session, including timers, cannon, clutch and hydraulics," said Dixon. "We used a standard, baseline setup just to get some numbers and we weren't looking for any hero tune-up. As it turned out, we didn't have any troubles with the clutch system during the run and we ran a 4.63. For Saturday, now that we have solved the clutch problems, we need to start working on the overall performance of the car. Can we run a 4.49 like Dunn?... I don't think so, but we can go out and run 4.55's like we did last week. I think this car has the potential to do that and if we can qualify in the top four or five cars, that's where we want to be."

Two qualifying sessions remain on Saturday, while a recap of this weekend's qualifying rounds will be televised on Saturday beginning at 8-9:30 PM ET on ESPN2.

- Snake Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Dunn , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie