LAS VEGAS (Apr. 9) - Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster left Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the track speed record in top fuel of 317.27 mph as they posted their second consecutive, second round finish of the season at...
LAS VEGAS (Apr. 9) - Larry Dixon and the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster left Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the track speed record in top fuel of 317.27 mph as they posted their second consecutive, second round finish of the season at the inaugural NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals and now sit fifth in the Winston Points race with 250 points.
Dixon, who entered eliminations as the No. 6 seed, began the day with a first-round win over No. 11 seed Doug Herbert. Dixon's opening lap of 4.738 seconds at 317.27 mph helped him advance to the second round as he bettered Herbert's effort of 4.941 seconds at 242.15 mph. Kenny Bernstein won the Las Vegas top fuel title, defeating Joe Amato in the final round.
The second round saw the 20th career meeting between Dixon and No. 3 seed Cory McClenathan who advanced to the second round with a win over Rhonda Hartman-Smith. Dixon seemed to have the round won as he left the starting line with his best light of the season (.451 seconds). Unfortunately, a fitting broke which essentially caused the Miller Lite Dragster to lose power to most of its systems, resulting in a time of 6.394 seconds at 153.81 mph compared to McClenathan's winning lap of 5.640 seconds at 261.32 mph.
"In the second round today, I really kicked butt on the tree," said Dixon. "We had .025 of a second on Cory at the starting line, and our run was done at a second and a half, but he smoked the tires. Even though we had the air fitting failure, we were still ahead at half-track and that is crushing because we were winning that race with all the things that went wrong with the car. Basically, the car went into neutral, the clutch didn't have any engagement and there was nothing that I could do to it so we were dead in the water right then."
Dixon and the Miller Lite team face a busy week ahead of them before the 13th Annual O'Reilly Nationals in Houston (Apr. 13-16). Dixon will travel to Talladega, Alabama to show his team owner Prudhomme support as the Snake is inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday.
He will arrive in Houston on Friday to take a stab at Houston Raceway Park, a track which saw Dixon win one event, set the then national record (4.486 seconds), and have crew chief Dick LaHaie calling the shots. LaHaie was the winning crew chief at both Houston events last season, first tuning Doug Herbert to the spring race win before joining Snake Racing toward the end of last season.
"This is the start of our season right now," said Dixon. "Up until now, we have had one race, then two weeks off. Then another race and a couple of more weeks off. Now, in the next month and a half, we are going to have a third of our season over with. It's just bam, bam, bam, race after race. In three or four days I am going to get back in the car and I can't wait. Dick is getting a better handle on the car and I am getting a better feel for driving it. I definately think that we are a win waiting to happen."
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