Denver: Larry Dixon Saturday summary

MORRISON, CO. (July 19) - NHRA Defending Champ Larry Dixon qualified No. 1 headed into tomorrow's final round action at the 24th Annual Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. It was the Miller Lite dragsters third and final qualifying...

MORRISON, CO. (July 19) - NHRA Defending Champ Larry Dixon qualified No. 1 headed into tomorrow's final round action at the 24th Annual Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. It was the Miller Lite dragsters third and final qualifying pass that stunned the 40-thousand in attendance. Dixon pulled along side Doug Kalitta, but pulled away with a time of 4.790 and speed of 308.64 miles per hour.

For the first pass, the Don Prudhomme owned dragster blew a cylinder but still produced a 4.909 ET (299.00 mph), beating Doug Kalitta's effort of 10.225 ET (79.94 mph).

"When it left and pulled at half track, I thought it would be good enough, I just didn't know how good the second half of the run would be," said Dixon. "You can really tell (when a cylinder is blown). Engines make roughly 7,000 horsepower and when you miss one, divided by eight, it's a lot."

In the pressroom afterward Dixon pointed out, "We were the only car that made three good runs during qualifying, especially with the varying track and weather conditions. I was thrilled with that. Our crew chief, Dick LaHaie--" Dixon never finished the sentence; sometimes there are no words for someone so incredible.

Although the Mac Tools/Miller Lite dragster is notorious for it's success and consistency, it does not put emphasis on being the No.1 qualifier. "I think that we don't put a lot of effort (into pole position) we want to be among the top four cars," said Dixon. "If you're among the top four, you know you've got a pretty good car and you ran good through the weekend; that 's what we try and do." Dixon earned the No.1 qualifier award earlier this year in Topeka, Kansas; and went on to win the title.

Dixon will pair against No.16 qualifier Mitch King tomorrow in round one of final eliminations. Although King's best pass of the session was 10.29ET at 80 mph, Dixon speaks from experience when saying, "anything can happen." Dixon faced King last year in Houston, but smoked the tires and went out in round one. "You can't take anything for granted," he added.

Sunday's eliminations are scheduled for a 12:30 PM start. ESPN will air final round coverage of the 24th Annual Mile High Nationals on Sunday from 2:30-3:30PM.

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Don Prudhomme , Mitch King