LARRY DIXON 2005 MIDSEASON RECAP Q&A VISTA, Calif. (July 6, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (2002-03) Larry Dixon has raced his Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to two victories in four final round appearances at the first ...
LARRY DIXON 2005 MIDSEASON RECAP Q&A
VISTA, Calif. (July 6, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion (2002-03) Larry Dixon has raced his Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to two victories in four final round appearances at the first 12 races of the 2005 NHRA season, equaling his entire win total from a season ago. The Dick LaHaie-tuned rail also has flashed runs of brilliance that saw Dixon post a career-best elapsed time (4.481-seconds) at the '05 season opener at Pomona, Calif., along with earning the low qualifying award at both the Columbus and Englishtown events. Dixon's 4.524-second average ! E.T. at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (Englishtown, N.J.) in June was one of the more dominant Top Fuel performances in recent memory as Top Fuel racing's winningest active driver collected his fifth consecutive Father's Day triumph. In this midseason report, the 37-time NHRA winner touches on the first half of the '05 season for his Miller Lite/Ameriquest team, chasing a third title in four seasons and the improved performance of his race car.
Q: What are your thoughts on the first half of the 2005 season for the Miller Lite team?
DIXON: Based off of the first half of last year, we're in a much better position across the board then we were last year at this time, so I would say things are going well.
Q: Was there a highlight moment from the first 12 races for Larry Dixon?
DIXON: There have been a few highlights for me. First, seeing Tommy (Johnson Jr.) win out of the gate at Pomona (Calif.) was cool and it showed that Snake made the right call on how the Funny Car team was structured. Being part of Snake's 100th win at Las Vegas was very cool. And, obviously, winning on Father's Day for the fifth year in a row was great.
Q: Some have said that you've snuck into the championship hunt. Do you feel that you're in an underdog role?
DIXON: I don't think we really had a choice. It's just how the cards were dealt. The points standings reflect a team's position to this point. Doug Kalitta had the best team for the first half of the year. Our goal is to go into every race and do better than every one else. If we do that, the points will reflect that. I don't think of us as an underdog or a favorite. We don't have a choice in any of that stuff. That's for the media to decide.
Q: When you won your consecutive championships (2002-03), you led the points chase from the start. What's it like being the hunter this time around?
DIXON: I've never really thought about it too much from that standpoint. I go into every event with the goal being to do the best we can, and at the end of the season you hope your points add up to more than everyone else's total. So, we're still doing the same thing as years prior.
Q: How much more enjoyable has this year been compared to last season's struggles?
DIXON: From a performance standpoint, yeah. I think that it's pretty cool that Snake has two cars that are in the hunt this season. Last year, he didn't, so, things are better than a year ago from top to bottom. From a people standpoint, with both our Funny Car and dragster, there are people with a want and desire to be here and I believe it shows in how both cars are running and showing in the points standings.
Q: Can you pinpoint on why the Miller Lite dragster has improved its showing?
DIXON: Rule changes, tires changes, clutch changes, engine changes, we haven't had too many of those thus far. That makes it easier on the crew chiefs to be able to go into a given race and use the data from previous races to try and do better the following week. All of those factors made it difficult to have a consistent car last year. The rules package, has allowed both of our teams to do better than last year.
Q: Are you excited about the second half of the '05 season and what are your thoughts going into the Western Swing?
DIXON: I'm just as excited as I was going into the Winternationals back in February. At the beginning of the season, I thought that we had a strong running race car that could do well, and I still feel that way.
Q: What's the team's goal for the second half of the 2005 season?
DIXON: The same as always, to qualify for every race and do well at that event.