Hill finishes as runner-up BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 22) -- Sentimental crowd favorite Eddie Hill came within a few hundred feet of winning his first National Hot Rod Association event in over three years Sunday evening at Brainerd International ...
Hill finishes as runner-up
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 22) -- Sentimental crowd favorite Eddie Hill came within a few hundred feet of winning his first National Hot Rod Association event in over three years Sunday evening at Brainerd International Raceway until a lost blower belt allowed Larry Dixon to steal away the win at the finish line.
"I got a huge break," Dixon said. "Eddie totally had me covered and I could see a bunch of that Pennzoil car until right near the end of the track when I just slipped by. It takes some luck to win in this sport and I got some in the finals."
Hill, a 63-year-old from Wichita Falls, Texas, got the initial jump on Dixon with a 0.479-second reaction time compared to Dixon's 0.511-second start. He then led the race through half-track and appeared to be inching away when the Pennzoil Dragster's blower belt came loose and zapped the car's power. The final numbers saw Dixon cross the line in 4.594 seconds at 294.95 mph against Hill's 4.698-second, 249.63-mph pass.
"The car felt really, really strong and I knew I was ahead because I couldn't see him at all," Hill said. "And then we slung the belt just before the 1,000-foot mark. I could already taste the win and I started celebrating in my mind and then 'boom' she quit pulling and I said 'oh no, please don't let this happen.'
"What a gigantic team effort this was. My hats off to every single crewmember we have. These guys were hustling to get us through four rounds today and they did a fantastic job. What a spectacular race car they gave me every run.
"We've had races this year where we were the fastest or the quickest car on any given day. But until now, we were unable to get it all together in the same day. It feels like we've been building towards this and it's very gratifying to go this far. I still believe we have a lot more to show. There is no reason to think we won't pick up right where we left off at the next race in Indy."
Hill's last final round appearance came in 1996 in Brainerd. His last win came that same year in Denver, making him the oldest driver to win a national event at the age of 60. He also holds the distinction of being the oldest driver to win a world championship having captured the 1993 title at the age of 57.