Gainesville: Larry Dixon enjoys Gatornationals

From The Snake Pit Larry Dixon & Miller Lite Dragster Make Nhra History As They Win Mac Tools Gatornationals For Second Straight Year GAINESVILLE, FL. (Mar. 17) - Larry Dixon tamed the Gators, extended his NHRA POWERade points lead, and made the...

From The Snake Pit
Larry Dixon & Miller Lite Dragster Make Nhra History As They Win Mac Tools Gatornationals For Second Straight Year

GAINESVILLE, FL. (Mar. 17) - Larry Dixon tamed the Gators, extended his NHRA POWERade points lead, and made the drag racing history books, all by successfully defending his Mac Tools Gatornationals Top Fuel title when his Miller Lite/Snake Racing Dragster took a final round win Sunday over rival Kenny Bernstein.

The winner of last year's Gatornationals, Dixon and crew chief Dick LaHaie put together a string of four consecutive 4.6-second laps in the Florida sun to became only the fifth team in 33 years of racing at Gainesville to win two years in a row. Dixon's win was his third career victory at Gainesville Raceway, but more importantly, it was his 18th career NHRA national event win which ties him with legendary drivers Shirley Muldowney and Darrell Gwynn for 25th place on the NHRA's all-time win list. The triumph also gave team owner Don "The Snake" Prudhomme his 78th overall win as he now has 29 owner-wins to add to his 49 victories recorded as a driver.

As far as the 2002 NHRA POWERade Series goes, Dixon continues his stranglehold of the Top Fuel points lead as he has now reached the final round at every event this season, including two victories and a runner-up finish. The Miller Lite/Skoal Racing machine now has claimed 333 points and holds a 105-point lead over second place Bernstein.

Dixon's historic day began as the No. 1 qualifier - the 14th time he has earned the low qualifier award in his eight-year career. The opening round saw Dixon post a lap of 4.682 seconds (313.95 mph) to defeat No. 16 qualifier Andrew Cowin (4.840 seconds, 296.37 mph) and extend the NHRA's longest current first round win streak to 28 consecutive events. Dixon also improved his career mark to 2 wins and 1 loss over the young Australian driver. Second round action put Dixon up against drag racing icon Muldowney, who qualified in the No. 9 position. Dixon's lap of 4.663 seconds (313.95 mph) gave him a win in his first ever encounter with the four-time world champion as her pass of 10.741 seconds (78.70 mph) fell short.

The semifinal round placed the Miller Lite/Lucas Oil driver up against No. 12 qualifier Paul Romine. Dixon used a 4.664-second run (314.24 mph) to improve his record to 7 wins and 2 losses to Romine (7.878 seconds, 95.21 mph). The win advanced Dixon to his third final round of the year and the 36th of his career. His fourth lap down the left lane of Gainesville Raceway would not disappoint as he used a starting line advantage and an elapsed time of 4.629 seconds (319.75 mph) to defeat Bernstein's effort of 4.677 seconds (319.29 mph). His final round total now stands at an even 18 wins and 18 losses, while his career final round mark against Bernstein has now also evened to 3 wins and 3 losses in 6 career championship head-to-head battles.

"Last year in final rounds, we were 0 for 2 against him (Bernstein)," said Dixon. "Now we are 2 and 0. Everyone worked hard over the wintertime to try and turn that around and I have been trying just as hard because I don't want to let the team down. We are staying tomorrow and testing because we are not satisfied with how our car is running and we want it to run better. That all has to do with Snake letting us do whatever it takes to win. And Dick LaHaie, he's the one who calls all of the shots. That 4.62 in the final -- I was impressed. If I was a tuner, I don't know if I would have tried to do that, but he felt real confident and it worked. Ever since Snake hired him at the end of '99, we have been slowly building to get better and better, and it's a lot of fun."

Dixon and the Miller Lite Team will remain in Gainesville for testing on Monday before returning to Snake Racing-Indianapolis to regroup for the 3rd Annual Summitracing.com Nationals (April 4-7) at Las Vegas.

- www.snakeracing.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Paul Romine , Shirley Muldowney , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Andrew Cowin , Dick LaHaie , Darrell Gwynn