DIXON RACES MILLER LITE DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINAL PERFORMANCE AT COLUMBUS HEBRON, Ohio (May 21, 2006) & ...
DIXON RACES MILLER LITE DRAGSTER TO SEMIFINAL PERFORMANCE AT COLUMBUS
HEBRON, Ohio (May 21, 2006) Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon powered his Miller Lite dragster to a semifinal finish for the second consecutive event Sunday at National Trail Raceway.
After driving the Miller Lite rail to the No. 6 qualifying position for the third time this season, Dixon edged rival Doug Kalitta and rising star Rod Fuller before falling to Brandon Bernstein in a close semifinal race.
Dixon has faced off against Kalitta more than any other driver in his 12 seasons as a professional racer. Entering the match, Dixon held a narrow 21-20 advantage over the Mac Tools driver. In the marquee match-up of two of the elite drivers in the nitromethane ranks, the Miller Lite racer scored the narrow win after recording a 4.575 second, 325.45 mph pass to edge Kalitta's rail. Kalitta posted a run of 4.600 at 309.06. Dixon is now 22-20 versus Kalitta and 1-2 in 2006 competition.
"I felt fine about running them," Dixon said. "We were running really good and they struggled in qualifying. You need to get by them when they're down because they're a really strong team. They spun the tires down track and we didn't and we got the win. It was a close race."
For the second consecutive race, Dixon battled rising Top Fuel star Rod Fuller in the quarterfinal round. Dixon used the best reaction time of the round (.066 of-a-second) to blast the Miller Lite rail to the wire-to-wire victory. The Don Bender-tuned Miller Lite dragster clocked a performance of 4.555 seconds at 326.08 mph to knock of Fuller's time of 4.786 seconds. Dixon recorded the quickest run of the second round.
"Hot Rod (Fuller) and those guys are another strong team; they ran a 4.50 in the first round," Dixon said. "We weren't going to try and run a 4.50. We just wanted to run our race and pick up the performance of our car and we did. They had trouble and we made another good run and got the round win."
In one of the closest races of the day Sunday at "Trails," the 38-time NHRA winner blasted to his quickest pass of eliminations, 4.543 seconds at a blistering 325.69 mph, but was defeated by Bernstein's slightly quicker 4.540-second pass. Dixon sits fifth in the POWERade Top Fuel standings.
"That was just one of those deals that if you run that race 10 times, you'll have 10 different outcomes," Dixon said. "Unfortunately, the outcome wasn't in our favor of our team. Our car was phenomenal this weekend. We were in the 4.50s on every run. If we keep beating on the door enough, eventually they're going to let us in."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 18th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals, May 25-28, at Heartland Park Topeka. Dixon, the 2003 Topeka winner, drove to a runner-up finish at Heartland Park last May.