MADISON,IL (June 22) - Just five days after his thrilling victory in Columbus, Larry Dixon used a pair of 4.57-second runs to pilot the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Dragster to the No. 2 spot Friday after the first day of qualifying for the...
MADISON,IL (June 22) - Just five days after his thrilling victory in Columbus, Larry Dixon used a pair of 4.57-second runs to pilot the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Dragster to the No. 2 spot Friday after the first day of qualifying for the 5th Annual Sears CraftsmanNationals.
Surprisingly, the usually hot and humid conditions found at Gateway International Raceway gave way to cooler, more pleasant temperatures, making for quicker times and faster speeds in the Top Fuel class. Dixon opened the day with a lap of 4.572 seconds at 318.32 mph coming out of the left lane and used those numbers to qualify No. 2 after the opening session. Gary Scelzi, who has won this race each ofthe three previous years, narrowly edged Dixon with a new track record elapsed time of 4.569 seconds to take the top spot.
The evening session provided a fireworks show for the fans as header flames ripped from the 6,000 plus horsepower rockets. Consistency during qualifying continues to be this season's theme for Dixon as his second lap of the day, a pass of 4.577 seconds at 318.84 mph kept him in the No. 2 position. Scelzi picked up just a bit (4.563) to remain on the pole.
"On both runs today we were expecting the car to run quicker," said Dixon. "The track had a little more grip than we were expecting which saw us drive through the clutch a little bit. We were expecting to run anywhere from a 4.53 to .55 on that last run so when a .57 came up, I think everybody on the Miller Lite Team was a little disappointed, but as it was we were second-quick of the session so we can't be bummed about it, but it was kind of a missed opportunity. I am sure that some of the other teams feelthe same way as we do."
Dixon's career best finish at Gateway came last season when he recorded a semifinal finish to Kenny Bernstein - the same man he trails in this year's Winston Top Fuel points race by a mere 41 points. The Miller Lite Driver has reached four final rounds this season, including wins at Gainesville, FL, and Columbus, Ohio.
Two qualifying sessions remain on Saturday and are scheduled for 1:00 and 4:30 PM CT. Qualifying rounds will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday from 10:00-Midnight ET while the finals will air Sunday from 7:00-10:00:00 PM ET.