Englishtown: Dixon third after first day

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (May 18) -- With the first day of qualifying complete at the 32nd Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, Larry Dixon has qualified the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster in the No. 3 position with a pass of 4.609 seconds at...

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (May 18) -- With the first day of qualifying complete at the 32nd Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals, Larry Dixon has qualified the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster in the No. 3 position with a pass of 4.609 seconds at 313.29 mph on Friday night.

Currently ranked second in the Winston Top Fuel points race, Dixon and the Miller Lite Team entered the first round of qualifying in the last pair of 15 dragsters to run in the opening session.  Paired up with points leader Mike Dunn and the New York Yankees car, Dixon's first attempt at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park came in the left land and resulted in a loss of traction at the 60-foot mark (10.247 seconds at 79.23 mph) to find himself 11th after the first round of qualifying.

Crew Chief Dick LaHaie hoped to gain valuable data from a strong second round qualifying run. Dixon, who was again matched with Dunn as the second pair of cars to run in the evening session, launched off the starting line and posted his top pass of the day.  His elapsed time of 4.609 seconds at 313.29 mph earned him the No. 3 qualifying position and marked the 12th out of 28 qualifying laps to fall in the 4.6-second range this season. His run was the second quickest of the late sessiona and was also one of only three cars to make it down the track. Kenny Bernstein claimed the early pole honors with his pass of 4.561 seconds at 322.58 mph.

"I think the first session's results were probably left over from Atlanta," said Dixon.  "We still didn't have our clutch set-up sorted out.  But the track conditions here are great and the weather is awesome and we just had to re-adjust things toget down the racetrack, so we did. We weren't set up to make a hero run, but we wanted to get from point A to point B and we wound up being second quickest of the session, so we are happy with that.  Now that we have our car in the top three, we can see if we can't whittle away at the E.T. and speed and try and move up a spot or two.  There will be other cars that will be running low to mid 4.50s, so if we want to be in the ball game, we have to hit it hard.  This track is probably one of the best that we run on all year, maybe second only to Houston.  Last week we saw a 4.52, so there is no reason to think we couldn't see at least that good of times here this weekend." 

In addition to winning the Englishtown Top Fuel crown in 1995, Dixon also recorded a national elapsed time record in 1995 and has posted two of his eight career pole positions (1995,2000) at "E-town".  He sits just 25 points behind Dunn in the Winston points race and could break his 300th elimination run career mark by reaching the second round on Sunday.

Two qualifying sessions remain on Saturday and are scheduled for 1:45 and 4:00 PM ET.  Qualifying rounds will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday from 7:30-9:30 PM ET while the finals will air Sunday from 10:00 PM to Midnight ET.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie