Houston: Dixon returns to the track

BAYTOWN, TX (Oct. 27) - Larry Dixon's first day back in the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster since crashing in Memphis (Oct. 8) saw him qualify No. 15 on Friday as he began his attempt to repeat as Top Fuel Champion for the third ...

BAYTOWN, TX (Oct. 27) - Larry Dixon's first day back in the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster since crashing in Memphis (Oct. 8) saw him qualify No. 15 on Friday as he began his attempt to repeat as Top Fuel Champion for the third consecutive time at Houston Raceway Park.

Although his opening lap of the day (9.066 seconds at 89.68 mph) was not exactly what Dixon was looking for, he was able to find some humor in it. "I'll tell you what, that lap was a lot smoother than the last one!," said Dixon referring to his violent final-round accident just 19 days ago at Memphis Motorsports Park. "I just climbed in the car, hit the tree against (Joe) Amato, and it was back to business as usual." The lap was good enough for the No. 13 spot after the round.

Dixon showed everyone that he was as ready as ever on the starting line with a .512 light in the first session, followed by a .488 second reaction time in the second - both of which were quicker than his qualifying round opponents. The newly re-tooled Miller Lite Dragster was unable to show its true self in the second round (10.863 seconds at 82.76 mph), as Dixon now has two more opportunities to improve on his No. 15 seeding before Sunday's eliminations.

Dixon, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Monday (Oct. 23), looks to win this weekend's 4th Annual Matco Tools SuperNationals and extend his streak to three consecutive wins in Houston. His first win came at the 1999 Matco Tools SuperNationals, followed by his win earlier this spring at the O'Reilly Nationals. Dixon also rewrote the NHRA Top Fuel record books here (April 9, 1999) as the first driver to break the 4.5-second barrier with his 4.486-second lap.

The Miller Lite/Raybestos pilot enters this weekend's race ranked No. 3 in the Winston Top Fuel points race, 223 points behind leader Gary Scelzi and just 97 points behind second place Tony Schumacher who withdrew from this weekend's race after his first qualifying attempt.

The final two qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday at Noon and 4 PM CT. Sunday's actions starts at 11 AM CT and will be televised by ESPN2 on Sunday with qualifying airing from 2-3:00 PM ET and elimination rounds coming between 9:30 PM-12:30 AM ET.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi