Indianapolis: Dixon still third in points

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) - Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster increased their opening round win streak to 17 consecutive events after posting a second round finish Monday at the 46th Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals at ...

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4) - Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster increased their opening round win streak to 17 consecutive events after posting a second round finish Monday at the 46th Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The No. 4-seeded Miller Lite Team began Monday's elimination round with Dixon's third career win over No. 12 Rhonda Hartman Smith and extended their opening round win streak to 17 events dating back to last year's NHRA Finals (Nov. 14, 1999). Dixon drove to a time of 4.85 seconds at 273.27 mph to defeat the Fram machine's lap of 5.00 seconds at 261.52 mph.

The win proved to be a costly one though as a head gasket malfunction struck the No. 91 car during its opening round win, resulting in the team's second oil-down penalty of the season and a 10-point deduction. While crew chief Dick LaHaie enjoyed advancing to the next round, he would have preferred a clean run to obtain data that could have helped later in the day.

"Today's opening round saw different track conditions than we have seen all weekend," said LaHaie. "By not getting a good run in the opening round, we needed to go back to our qualifying tune up for the second round." LaHaie and crew overcame the lost data from the first round to tune the Miller Lite/Raybestos car to its second-quickest lap of the weekend, however Dixon's pass of 4.68 seconds at 311.92 mph could not surpass No. 4-seed Tony Schumacher's low E.T. run of 4.60 seconds at 316.45 mph. Schumacher went on to win the event for the first time of his career.

"Right now I am just disappointed that we lost this race," said Dixon. "This is the superbowl of our sport. Points are secondary to winning this race - it is the biggest thing going. Brainerd pays out just as many points if you win, but this race is the biggest thing in the world to us as far as racing goes. You have no idea how disappointed I am that we did not do better at this event."

Dixon and the Miller Lite Team remain in third place in the Winston Top Fuel points race (1,184), just 56 points behind second place Gary Scelzi (1,240) and 125 behind leader Schumacher (1,309). The points race heats up next week as the NHRA returns to Englishtown, NJ, to make up the rain out (May 21). With the field of 15 top fuel cars already set, Dixon will enter next weekend as the No. 1 seed and a first round bye. Dixon won the Englishtown event once previously in his 1995 rookie campaign.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Gary Scelzi , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie