ENNIS, TX (May 28) - Making his third final round appearance out of the last four races this season, Larry Dixon piloted the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster to the second runner-up finish of his career at Texas Motorplex and moved to...
ENNIS, TX (May 28) - Making his third final round appearance out of the last four races this season, Larry Dixon piloted the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster to the second runner-up finish of his career at Texas Motorplex and moved to within just 46 points of the lead in the NHRA top fuel points race.
In the 21st final of his six-year driving career, Dixon posted his second quickest lap of the day with a time of 4.696 seconds at 309.59 mph, however it would be Gary Scelzi's pass of 4.614 seconds at 316.67 mph that would claim the top fuel crown. Dixon entered the weekend sitting third in the Winston points race and just 47 points out of the lead. By advancing to the final, Dixon (646) climbed to within 46 points out of first place, which is now occupied by Scelzi (692). Former points leader Tony Schumacher now ranks second (653).
The No. 6-seed Dixon began his near-perfect day with a first round pass of 5.122 seconds at 297.52 mph to defeat No. 9 Tim Gibson, who smoked the tires en route to a time of 10.922 seconds at 80.87 mph. In the second round Dixon and the Miller Lite Dragster traveled the quarter-mile at a clip of 4.735 seconds at 300.80 mph to claim the third win of the season over Kenny Bernstein who saw his top fuel car lose its blower belt and clock in at 7.068 seconds at 111.55 mph. Dixon then earned the right to advance to his third final of the year by defeating No. 2 seed Joe Amato in the semifinals. Miller Lite crew chief Dick LaHaie gave Dixon the horsepower he needed to post his best elapsed time of the weekend at 4.679 seconds at 312.17 mph, and claimed his fourth career win over Amato (4.999 seconds at 285.26 mph) in the first meeting between the two drivers this season.
"I feel the same this weekend as I did after our semifinal finish in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago," said Dixon. "You hate to go rounds and not gain any real ground. But we did get around some bug cars today like Joe Amato and Kenny Bernstein who were both running really great. Gary Scelzi was really strong this weekend. We had an A car, but they had an A+ car. Unless something crazy happens, I expect our team to have this same consistency for a while."
"The Miller Lite Team is doing an excellent job at maintanence, Dick LaHaie is calling some great shots and I am doing a decent job at driving. As long as we keep finding ourselves in the later rounds, we will win our share of races."
Dixon's previous career best at Texas Motorplex came in 1997 when he finished runner-up to Joe Amato at the Lone Star Nationals. For his career, Dixon now has 10 wins and 11 losses in 21 total finals. On the year, the Miller Lite Dragster has a record of 19 wins and 6 losses. He has a total of 138 wins and 100 losses in 238 total elimination rounds.
Dixon and the Miller Lite Team have no time off as they return to action this weekend at the Pennzoil Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL (June 1-4). Dixon and team owner Prudhomme will also be making a trip to visit Miller Brewing Company with team owner on Wednesday and will be joined by fellow CART Miller Lite Racing Team members Bobby Rahal and Max Papis.
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