Gainesville: Larry Dixon eliminations summary

Larry Dixon keeps NHRA point lead after Gatornationals. From The Snake Pit GAINESVILLE, FL (March 16) -- Defending NHRA POWERade champion Larry Dixon made a valiant effort in his attempt to win his third consecutive Mac Tools Gatornationals...

Larry Dixon keeps NHRA point lead after Gatornationals.

From The Snake Pit

GAINESVILLE, FL (March 16) -- Defending NHRA POWERade champion Larry Dixon made a valiant effort in his attempt to win his third consecutive Mac Tools Gatornationals crown by reaching the semifinals at Gainesville Raceway Sunday en route to a semifinal finish.

Dixon, driver of the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Dragster, entered this weekend's race looking to make history as the first Top Fuel pilot to "three-peat" with three straight wins in the swamp.JAfter beginning the day as the No. 3 qualifier, Dixon and crew chief Dick LaHaie continued their string of consistent 4.5-second laps throughout race day.`The first round of action paired Dixon against Bruce Litton and his Lucas Oil Dragster.`Dixon and the Miller Lite team used a lap of 4.552 seconds (326.56 mph) to move past their Lucas Oil "teammate" as Litton's 4.816-second pass fell short.JDixon's win moved him to 5-0 over Litton for his career and 1-0 for the season.

No. 11 qualifier Jim Head would be Dixon's next opponent in the second round.`The Miller Lite team used a lap of 4.545 seconds (321.54 mph) to defeat Head's effort (5.845 seconds, 151.13 mph) and earn a trip to the semifinals for the third time out of the three races in the young 2003 season.`Dixon's victory improved his career record to 10-2 over Head and 1-0 on the year.

In the semifinals Dixon squared off against familiar foe Brandon Bernstein, marking the second time the two drivers have met already this season.`Dixon again made a strong 4.5-second pass (4.577, 322.00 mph), however it was not enough to overcome Bernstein's pass (4.537, 323.04 mph).

With the semifinal finish, Dixon remains in first place in the POWERade Top 10 point standings, extending an NHRA-Top Fuel record span of 26 race weeks where the Miller Lite Dragster has owned the No. 1 spot which dates back to February, 2002.`Dixon has a total of 286 points and owns a 17-point advantage over Bernstein.`On the season, Dixon has reached two finals out of the first three races to complement his semifinal round finish today.

"We made seven runs all in the 4.50s, we just picked the wrong session to have our car slow down," said Dixon.`"What can you do?`I mean, you are looking for .03 of a second.`It's just hard to swallow.`This weekend we saw a record qualifying field in Top Fuel and saw quite a few cars run in the 4.50 range.`Right now that doesn't seem to be good enough.`Right now you have to run low 4.50's, I mean 4.51, .52, .53, just to be able to win.`That's why we are staying tomorrow and testing, not to try and get any advantage, but to get our car running a little bit better."

"In the big scope of things three-peating wasn't really a goal of mine," said Dixon.`"Whatever event that we go into we are trying to win.`Because we won it the last two years here doesn't mean we don't want to win it again this year.`The next race we go to is Las Vegas where we won last year, but we are still going to try and go in there and win.`We didn't win Houston last year, but we are going to try and go in there and "one-peat" it.`If you can ever string a few of them together, then that's all the better."

Dixon and the Miller Lite Team, as well as Snake Racing Funny Car teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. will stay over for an extra day at Gainesville Raceway on Monday for testing sessions before heading back to Snake Racing's Indianapolis race shop.`The NHRA POWERade series returns to action in three weeks for the Fourth Annual NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals (April 3-6) at The Strip at Las Vegas, site of Dixon's NHRA POWERade Championship clinching race last October.

-www.snakeracing.com-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Bruce Litton , Larry Dixon , Don Prudhomme , Tommy Johnson Jr.