Denver: Larry Dixon preview

The Dixon Dispatch The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster Larry Dixon Chases First Win At Bandimere Speedway While He Also Eyes First Place In 2001 NHRA Winston Point Standings DENVER, CO (July 16) - Each summer the...

The Dixon Dispatch
The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster

Larry Dixon Chases First Win At Bandimere Speedway While He Also Eyes First Place In 2001 NHRA Winston Point Standings

DENVER, CO (July 16) - Each summer the NHRA's "West Coast Swing," which consists of four events (Denver, Sonoma, Seattle & Brainerd), often plays a vital role in determining who will be crowned the Winston Champion at the end of the season. This weekend's 23rd Annual Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals (July 19-22) kicks off this year's trip to the left coast for Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Top Fuel Dragster, a team which could leave Bandimere Speedway this weekend with its first title in Colorado, as well as first place in the Top Fuel points race.

Dixon comes into this weekend's event, the 14th of 24 on the 2001 NHRA season circuit, ranked second in the points and is approximately three rounds of elimination racing behind the leader, Kenny Bernstein. Dixon is on pace for a career season as Crew Chief Dick LaHaie and the 7-member crew have the Miller Lite Dragster averaging a No. 3 qualifying position and a semifinal finish each weekend. Dixon has won two events this year (Gainesville, FL & Columbus, OH) in three final rounds and has reached the semifinals at 10 out of the first 13 races.

But Bandimere will test Dixon, LaHaie and crew to the max this weekend as altitudes and air conditions will be unique to every other race track they visit. In addition to the thin air, the Miller Lite Team will be battling history as well as shockingly neither Dixon or Prudhomme have won in Denver. What should help however is the addition of LaHaie into the mix.

LaHaie turned the wrenches for Scott Kalitta's 1995 Denver Top Fuel win over Dixon, and brings vast experience to the Mountain.

"For the driver there really isn't much of a difference, but for the crew chiefs, tuning the car with this air is a real big deal," said Dixon. "The hardest part is tricking the motor into thinking that it's getting air when its not. It's like running around the block while breathing through a straw. Then, even if you can do that, you still have to make the car stick because there is no way you can trick the wings into thinking there's air there when its not."

"From the driver's standpoint, everything that happens during the run takes a little longer," said Dixon. "Where you usually grab for the chutes at four and a half seconds, now your pulling them at 4.7 seconds. That may not sound like much, but when you travel a football field in less than a second, it can be a bit different. There are only 11 races left and roughly 25 percent of those come within the swing. If you don't do well in the coming weeks, you are going to start running out of time. You certainly don't want to lose any ground at this point in the season."

All in the Family?

The line between Larry Dixon's family and his extended NHRA family continues to blur. The 34-year-old Dixon married Ali Lukovich on New Year's of 1999. This past weekend, Dixon's sister Cathy married Jeff Lukovich, Larry's brother in law. Complicating things even more is a third Lukovich sibling, Ann, who is engaged to NHRA Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon. <pre> Larry Dixon's Career Results in Denver

Year Event                Qual.       Finish & Winning Driver
1995 Mile High Ntls       No. 4       2nd round- S. Kalitta
1996 Mile High Ntls       No. 3       Semifinals-E. Hill
1997 Mile High Ntls       No. 8       1st round-G. Scelzi
1998 Mile High Ntls       No. 9       1st round-M. Dunn
1999 Mile High Ntls       No. 5       Semifinals-J. Amato
2000 Mile High Ntls       No. 4       2nd round-T. Schumacher

2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings 1. Kenny Bernstein 1108 n/a 2. LARRY DIXON 1046 62 out 3. Doug Kalitta 894 214 out 4. Mike Dunn 881 227 out 5. Darrell Russell 859 249 out 6. Gary Scelzi 845 263 out 7. Tony Schumacher 690 418 out 8. Doug Herbert 681 427 out 9. David Grubnic 524 584 out 10. Rhonda Hartman 472 636 out

Larry Dixon Appearance & Racing Schedule Below is the tentative schedule for Larry Dixon for this weekend's Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals.

Date & Time             Location
Thur, 7/19   700-830p   Rome's, 785 W. Mississippi Ave.
Fri, 7/20    500-800p   Qualifying sessions #1 & #2
Sat, 7/21    100-400p   Qualifying sessions #3 & #4
Sun, 7/22    1100a      Eliminations begin

NHRA on Television This Weekend

Date & Time (ET) Network Coverage July 21, 600-800p ESPN 2 Qualifying July 22, 500-800p ESPN 2 Eliminations

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Pedregon , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Scott Kalitta , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie