Larry Dixon earns 2003 NHRA Top Fuel Championship DALLAS, Texas (Oct.12) -- Larry Dixon earned his second straight POWERade championship title by defeating Darrell Russell in the quarterfinals at the 18th Annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals at ...
Larry Dixon earns 2003 NHRA Top Fuel Championship
DALLAS, Texas (Oct.12) -- Larry Dixon earned his second straight POWERade championship title by defeating Darrell Russell in the quarterfinals at the 18th Annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex.
In the first round of Sunday eliminations the newly re-crowned series champion paired against No.15 Bill Ancona. Dixon out powered Ancona by a car length posting the win at 320.39 mph at 4.605-seconds, easily defeating Ancona speed of 308.11 mph at 4.705 E.T.
The Miller Lite team would have to get past Darrell Russell in round two to clench the championship title. In 2002 Dixon and the Snake Racing/Miller Lite team locked the championship in Las Vegas, this year they hoped to improve by taking it in Texas.
The Avon, Indiana resident powered his Miller Lite Dragster to a 4.584-second lap at 324.44 mph defeating Russell's effort of 4.634 E.T. (305.81 mph). After posting the win against Russell, Dixon was immediately named the 2003 POWERade Top Fuel Champion.
"I think there are turning points at certain races," said Dixon, "In Indy we went out second round but so did Kalitta. He ran a 4.42 in Chicago but lost in the second round while we went to the finals, those are races that you have to capitalize on and they didn't. At that point (Chicago) I was starting to feel pretty good that we could win the rounds that it took to win the title."
The Miller Lite driver was given the championship trophy, the $400,000 check and escorted down the sidelines in front of thousands of cheering fans.
The Snake Racing crew hoped to carry their winning momentum into the semifinals where they would face Kenny Bernstein. The Miller Lite dragster holds a career record of 19-24 against the red car and a 4-6 career record in the finals (W-Rch 00, L-Gville 98, L-Tpka 01, L-Mphs 01, W-Pomona 02, W-Gville 02, L-Etown 02, W-Joliet 02, L-Brainerd-02, L-Chicago 03).
Behind the wheel of his Snake Racing Miller Lite dragster and hoping for his record-tying ninth win of the year Dixon posted 325.14 mph at 4.567-seconds but was edged out by Bernstein who drove 329.06 mph at 4.529-seconds.
"Winning the championship is something I'll remember forever," said Dixon. "I will remember it much longer than losing to Bernstein in the semi's."
Dixon still considers his first 2002 championship title tops, maintaining the second title can never be better than your first. "I guess the second one just proves it wasn't a fluke," said Dixon.
The Snake Racing team heads to Las Vegas (Oct. 23-26th) for the Third Annual AC Delco NHRA Fall Nationals; the second to last stop on the NHRA 23-stop tour.