Dixon Posts Runner-Up Finish in Top Fuel Shootout; Qualifies Eighth at Las Vegas LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2004) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon drove his Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a runner-up finish in the Top Fuel...
Dixon Posts Runner-Up Finish in Top Fuel Shootout; Qualifies Eighth at Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 30, 2004) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon drove his Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster to a runner-up finish in the Top Fuel Shootout bonus event Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dixon, who earned the wild card spot on Thursday evening, started in the No. 8 position and was matched up against No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta in the first round of the $100,000 bonus event. Dixon used a tune-up from champion crew chief Dick LaHaie to record the second quickest elapsed time of the opening round of the eight-car event to defeat Kalitta. Dixon raced to a run of 4.567 seconds at 323.50 mph, while Kalitta's dragster overpowered the race track and slowed to a run of 7.111 at 154.55.
The three-time Shootout winner (1995, 2002-03) met rival Brandon Bernstein in the second round of the special race-within-a-race. The 35-time NHRA winner powered his Miller-backed dragster to a pass of 4.554 at 323.58 to score the win over Bernstein and earn a birth to his fifth final round appearance in 10 tries in the Top Fuel Shootout.
In the final round, Dixon's dragster was too aggressive, spinning the tires and coasting to a pass of 9.999 at 82.69, while opponent David Grubnic drove to a run of 4.501 at 328.46 to collect his first career Top Fuel Shootout victory. Dixon and the Miller Lite team earned $15,000 for their runner-up effort.
"I think we did better than anyone expected," Dixon said. "It was a pretty good day to beat two really strong cars in (Doug) Kalitta and (Brandon) Bernstein. Those were big round wins. The guys on the Miller team looked at the data from Friday and made some moves and they worked out. We picked up a tenth of-a-second and that was nice.
"I felt really good going into the final round against (David) Grubnic. The car shook the tires pretty violently. They made a change in the final and that's one direction we won't go in tomorrow on race day."
Dixon, a three-time event winner at The Strip, finished qualifying in the No. 8 position as a result of his 4.567, 323.50 effort on Saturday's opening pass. He will face off against No. 9 qualifier Morgan Lucas in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at 11 a.m. (PT) on Sunday, Oct. 31. Dixon is 1-0 in his career against the 2004 NHRA Rookie of the Year candidate.
ESPN2 will broadcast 90 minutes of qualifying coverage from the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at 10:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Oct. 30 and show three hours of final eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 31.