Larry Dixon Thursday at Pomona

POMONA, CA. (Feb. 3) - Larry Dixon kicked off the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series with a bang Thursday when he piloted the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster to the No. 2 qualifying position with a lap of 4.741 seconds at 306. 26 mph...

POMONA, CA. (Feb. 3) - Larry Dixon kicked off the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series with a bang Thursday when he piloted the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster to the No. 2 qualifying position with a lap of 4.741 seconds at 306. 26 mph at the 40th Annual Autozone Winternationals.

Dixon, who won the Winternationals event in 1998, and finished as runner up in 1999, was excited about the way the car performed on its first run of the season. "It felt nice to get back into the car," said Dixon. "Dick LaHaie set the car up over cautiously to get it down the track in order to get the data we need. I'm not surprised that the car ran as well as it did. After seeing (Joe) Amato's time (4.666 seconds), I'm more surprised that the .74 stood as second quick."

Dixon is not quick to get too excited about his early qualifying success. "We still have three more runs to make and we want to continue moving forward," said Dixon. "After people saw Amato's time and speed today, I think that everybody will see that although the rule change took place with the percentage of nitro, it really won't slow the cars down that much."

Today's qualifying lap also marked Dixon' first "official" pass in the Miller Lite Dragster, that is now completely under the direction and specification of crew chief LaHaie. Asked about noticing any differences between the LaHaie-tuned dragster and former chief Dale Armstrong's set up, Dixon felt it was too early in the season to tell.

Amato (4.666 seconds/320.05 mph) claimed the pole after the first day, followed by Dixon, Cory McClenathan, Doug Kalitta and Bruce Litton, who rounded out the top five in the 19-car field.

Dixon, 33, begins his sixth season in the driver's seat and has eight NHRA national event wins in 18 final round appearances after his 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year campaign.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bruce Litton , Larry Dixon , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie