Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite team extends Top Fuel Powerade points lead to 103. INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2) - Larry Dixon and the Dick LaHaie-tuned Miller Lite/Snake Racing Top Fuel team kept Kenny Bernstein in check in the NHRA POWERade points ...
Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite team extends Top Fuel Powerade points lead to 103.
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 2) - Larry Dixon and the Dick LaHaie-tuned Miller Lite/Snake Racing Top Fuel team kept Kenny Bernstein in check in the NHRA POWERade points chase, but didn't stop Tony Schumacher in the final round of the 48th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Dixon powered his way from his No. 3 starting position into his 12th final round of the season out of 17 races taking out Bruce Litton in the first round of eliminations running a time of 4.655 seconds, 320.58 mph to Litton's time of 4.757 seconds, 301.81 mph. The Miller Lite driver advanced to the quarterfinals, taking on Doug Herbert and easily out distanced him, covering the quarter-mile with another consistent pass of 4.656 seconds, 321.35 mph to Herbert's run of 4.809 seconds, 284.62 mph.
The semi-finals was the best race of the entire Mac Tools U.S. Nationals with the Miller Lite team taking the win over their beer adversary in the points hunt, Kenny Bernstein on a hole shot. Dixon reacted much quicker (.482-.533) and although Bernstein ran a quicker time of 4.620 seconds, 322.96 mph, Dixon pushed his dragster to the finish line first with his pass of 4.641 seconds, 320.89 mph to trailer his opponent and add to his POWERade points lead. The margin of victory was a keen 14 ten-thousandths of a second (.0014).
"I'll tell you what, it's gone the other way enough times," said Dixon. "Kenny is such a tough racer and tough driver. He presses you and makes you go up there and try to give it your all and this time it came out. LaHaie was going to leave the car alone and leave it up to me. Oh thank God we got the win light, that's all I can say!"
Added crew chief Dick LaHaie, "No doubt, Larry did a hell of job and everything turned out great."
In the finals against Tony Schumacher, Dixon was looking for his eighth win of the season and a successful defense of his 2001 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals title
Dixon left the starting line first but unexpectedly lost traction around 400 feet of the quarter-mile distance. He tried in vain to recover but was unable to gain the grip he needed as Schumacher reached the finish line first running an elapsed time of 4.663 seconds, 315.93 mph to Dixon's effort of 5.161 seconds, 240.29 mph.
"In the semi's we really got after it and it really didn't step up," said crew chief Dick LaHaie. "We started looking and found a little fitting that was broken that controls the boost in our supercharger. So we repaired that and slowed the blower down, trying to make an educated guess. The educated guess wasn't educated enough. The car had too much boost and it just smoked the tires."
At the completion of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Dixon has increased his POWERade Top Fuel point lead, extending it to 103 points after gaining 23 points (1,513-1,410) in Monday's race over Bernstein with six NHRA National events remaining.
The NHRA POWERade series now moves on to Reading, Pa. for the running of the Lucas Oil Keystone Nationals scheduled to run Sept. 13 - 15.