MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2004) - Up until three races ago, two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and his Miller Lite team were experiencing a somewhat disappointing season after dominating the Top Fuel category the past two seasons. But...
MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2004) - Up until three races ago, two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and his Miller Lite team were experiencing a somewhat disappointing season after dominating the Top Fuel category the past two seasons. But after posting an 8-2 record, including one victory, at the last three races, the 34-time NHRA winner jumped to fourth place in the standings as the championship crew looks to make a run towards a third consecutive Top Fuel crown.
"We're just going to try to keep the momentum going that we've had over the past couple races," Dixon said.
Dixon and his Dick LaHaie-led crew look to continue their solid performance when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its annual visit to Bandimere Speedway near Denver, July 16-18, for the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals where Dixon eyes his third victory in four seasons at the Colorado facility.
"We've won at Denver two out of the last three years," Dixon said. "It's a great facility and I enjoy racing there. It seems like Denver is a very sports-oriented town and the track takes advantage of that. They have a good weekly bracket program and always draw a great crowd for the Mile-High Nationals and I like that."
The thin air of the Mile-High City and the warm summer temperatures always present the crew chiefs and race crews with challenging racing conditions because the 8,000 horsepower engines like those that power Dixon's Miller Lite dragster like low elevation and plenty of oxygen. However, the first race of the three-race Western Swing provides neither of those elements which are vital to creating horsepower. Therefore, the crew chiefs must adapt and make changes to the engine to compensate for the altitude.
"The conditions affect the cars more than the drivers because we're not racing on foot," Dixon said. "To adapt, we adjust the compression of the engine. Less air means less power, so you have to make up for the lack of oxygen somehow. We'll spin the supercharger faster and adjust the timing of the engine to help create horsepower at Denver."
After enjoying a much needed two-week break from racing, the NHRA circuit heats up with the third of four three-race swings on the 2004 schedule. For the Indianapolis-based Miller Lite team, the Western Swing is arguably the most challenging portion of the 20 city, 23-race circuit. However, with the way the Miller Lite dragster has been performing in recent weeks, Dixon is eager to began the journey West.
"More than half of our events are done with three races in a row," Dixon said. "If the car is running good you can make up some ground, and if the car is running bad, you're in trouble. So, I like it. If you don't like it than you should go run in the IRL or another series."