ENNIS, TX (Nov. 4) -- Having reached the semifinal round for the 12th time this season at Saturday's re-scheduled O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster moved past Tony Schumacher into second place...
ENNIS, TX (Nov. 4) -- Having reached the semifinal round for the 12th time this season at Saturday's re-scheduled O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster moved past Tony Schumacher into second place in the NHRA Winston Top Fuel point standings with just one event remaining -- the NHRA World Finals in Pomona, CA (Nov. 9-12).
No. 2 seeded Dixon, who entered this weekend's event at Texas Motorplex ranked third in the points, used wins over No. 14 Bill Walsh and No. 10 David Grubnic, before posting his semifinal finish to eventual champion - No. 6 seed Cory McClenathan.
The Miller Lite Team's day began with a first round match up against Walsh, who was driving the Army Dragster in relief of Schumacher who is still recuperating from injuries suffered in Memphis, the same place where Dixon crashed on Oct. 8.Â Dixon used a .07 second advantage over Walsh at the starting line (.494/.562) to aide his winning lap of 4.733 seconds at 297 mph to defeat his opponent's run of 4.744 seconds at 309 mph.Â
"It was especially nice to beat Tony Schumacher's car while they are trying to keep us out of second place," said Dixon.Â "It was their opportunity to take us out,and they didn't.Â To go on to the semis and move into second place was nice, but it was something that we should have done earlier this season.Â We just had a couple of bad breaksâ€¦ literally," said Dixon referring to his accident early last month.Â "My leg felt better, especially with a couple of round wins.Â It was the best my broken leg has felt since the Saturday before Memphis," he joked.Â
In the second round, the Miller Lite/Raybestos pilot met Grubnicf or the fourth time this year and remained undefeated against the Australian driver as the Miller Lite Dragster's time of 5.039 seconds at 280 mph bettered the Montana Express car's lap of 12.461 seconds at 73 mph.Â "We got into a bit of a pedal contest in the second round against David Grubnic," said Dixon.Â "You really enjoy those when you win them, and you definitely hate to lose them."
Dixon's 12th trip to the semis this season saw his effort of 4.678 seconds at 314 mph fall just short to McClenathan's effort of 4.563 seconds at 315 mph.
Although he would have liked to win the race, Dixon was pleased with the fact that the rain let up long enough tosee the event finally completed.Â "The weather was cloudy and in the 60's all day," said Dixon.Â "That helped a lot of drivers today with their reaction times.Â If this race had been cancelled, it really would have put us under the gun to try and pass Schumacher with only one race left."
Dixon (1,550) holds a 13-point advantage over Schumacher (1,537) who plans to return to racing at the AAA of Southern California NHRA World Finals next week.Â Gary Scelzi (1,776) locked up his third Winston Top Fuel Championship with his semifinal effort this weekend.Â "If Tony races next week,whoever