DIXON HOPES TO GO QUICKER AND FASTER AT CASTROL NATIONALS ENNIS, Texas -- Larry Dixon just gripped the butterfly steering wheel tight and held on. In one blink, it was over. Dixon and his Miller Lite Top Fuel team became a part of NHRA ...
DIXON HOPES TO GO QUICKER AND FASTER AT CASTROL NATIONALS
ENNIS, Texas -- Larry Dixon just gripped the butterfly steering wheel tight and held on.
In one blink, it was over. Dixon and his Miller Lite Top Fuel team became a part of NHRA history.
Dixon, propelled by the tuning wizardry of crew chief Dale Armstrong, drove his Don Prudhomme-owned dragster to the first Top Fuel pass quicker than 4.50 seconds. His 4.486 second run shook the Houston Raceway Park quarter-mile, and on a larger scale, the drag racing world.
Dixon, from San Diego, will lead the charge among his competitors in the endless chase to go quicker and faster at the third annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, April 22-25 at the Texas Motorplex. The $1.5 million race is the fifth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
While many drag racing insiders felt Mike Dunn's Team Mopar dragster would be the first to achieve the sub-4.50 milestone, Dixon and Armstrong put all speculation to rest at Houston.
"Dale has been an innovator and at the top of his profession his entire career," Dixon said. "For him to make that much power and give me an opportunity just to hang on for the ride, it's an honor to drive that car. I feel lucky and fortunate."
He says the ride is something he'll never forget.
"It was an awesome pass," Dixon said. "It left the starting line with the front wheels up higher than I feel comfortable with. It carried the front wheels past the 60-foot mark. When it came down it blew smoke off the front tires just like a 747 jet landing. Then I just tried to hang on. When I got to the other end of the track a guy came up and told me I run a 4.48. I couldn't believe it. That's probably the happiest I've been in years. What a ride. You can't get that one at Disneyland."
Dixon says the next 4.40 run may be coming soon.
"There's so many strong cars that are capable of running in the 40s," Dixon said. "I don't think the 4.48 at Houston will be the low elapsed time for the year. We've got some new engine parts that will make some more power and we haven't been able to fully apply them yet. I know our car can pick up and Mike Dunn, Kenny Bernstein and Joe Amato, they're all right there knocking on the door. I'd say by the end of the year you're going to have to run a low- to mid-40 to be the top qualifier."
Dixon's 4.486 top-qualifying effort led a pack of low 4.50s at Houston. He says fans in Dallas need to brace for the same kind of onslaught. He expects records to fall.
"I look for the same kind of performance out of everybody," Dixon said. "It was the first of the supertracks and you always look for records when we go there. I just hope we can leave Dallas with the national record like we did at Houston. That would be great."