Post Race notes: Fourth Annual NHRA Summitracing.Com Nationals April 3-6, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas TOP FUEL * Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, won his second event of the 2003 season and the 27th of his career, defeating...
Post Race notes:
Fourth Annual NHRA Summitracing.Com Nationals
April 3-6, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
* Larry Dixon, from Indianapolis, won his second event of the 2003 season and the 27th of his career, defeating Doug Kalitta in the final round. The 36-year-old powered the Miller Lite dragster to the finish line in 4.608 seconds at 312.57 mph to outrun Kalitta's Mac Tools dragster, which recorded numbers of 4.695 at 314.39. It was Dixon's third straight win at The Strip and it moves him into a tie with Cory McClenathan for fourth place on the all-time Top Fuel win list.
* Dixon established a national record for speed when the Miller Lite dragster hit 332.75 mph during the first round of qualifying. He backed up the speed within the required one percent with his 330.07 run during the second round of qualifying. It was the first time Dixon had eclipsed the 330-mph barrier and it is the first time in his career that he has held the national record for speed. No POWERade points are awarded for establishing a national record for speed.
* There were five Top Fuel runs at the event that hit speeds over 330 mph, a record for a single event.
* Dixon extended his NHRA record to 27 straight events where he has led the POWERade point standings, dating back to the 2002 season-opener at Pomona, Calif.
* Kalitta earned his 11th career No. 1 qualifying position and his fourth straight of the 2003 season. The Mac Tools dragster driven by Kalitta went through the clocks in a track record time of 4.499 seconds at 332.10 mph. Kalitta became only the second Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to qualify No. 1 at the first four events of a season (Gary Beck, 1983).
* With the win, Dixon extended his lead over Brandon Bernstein in the POWERade standings. Dixon leads Bernstein by 59 points and third-place Kalitta by 131 points. Bernstein lost to Kalitta in the semifinals.
* Tony Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., earned his second win of the year in the Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang. Pedregon's 21st career victory came when final round opponent, Whit Bazemore, was disqualified for leaving the starting line early in his Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T. It was Pedregon's first victory at The Strip in three final round appearances.
* Bazemore, from Indianapolis, earned his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the 22nd of his career when his Dodge Stratus blasted down the track in 4.788 seconds at 324.44 mph. It was his first top qualifying effort since 2002 Reading, where he also finished as the runner-up to Pedregon.
* Pedregon's victory moved him atop the points standings for the second time this season and for the third time of his career. He led the standings for one race in 1999 after his victory at the season-opener at Pomona, Calif. Pedregon leads teammate Gary Densham by 25 points and Bazemore by 44 points.
* Densham established a track record for speed when his Automobile Club Ford Mustang reached 326.56 mph during qualifying.
* John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., lost in the first round for the third time in the first four races. While the other two drivers from Force Racing, Pedregon and Densham, occupy the top two spots in the POWERade standings, Force is 11th in the standings, 12 points out of the top 10.
* By qualifying for eliminations, Force established a record for the longest qualifying streak in NHRA history, making the 16-car field for eliminations in 304 consecutive events. The last time Force did not qualify for an event was at the 1987 NHRA Finals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway.
* Greg Anderson, from Charlotte, N.C., scored his sixth career victory and second of 2003 with a holeshot start over Kurt Johnson in the final round. Anderson steered his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am down the track in 6.907 seconds at 200.95 mph to defeat the quicker Johnson, who recorded a pass of 6.896 at 201.10 in his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier.
* Anderson earned his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season and the fourth of his career with a then-track record time of 6.880 seconds at 201.28 mph in his Pontiac. Anderson reset the track record for elapsed time when he made it to the finish line in 6.875 in his first round victory over defending NHRA POWERade champion Jeg Coughlin.
* K. Johnson set the track record for speed when his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier hit 201.73 mph during his first round win over Gene Wilson. No Pro Stock vehicle had eclipsed the 200-mph barrier at The Strip prior to this event. Scott Geoffrion was the first Pro Stock driver to pass the 200-mph mark at The Strip when his Ford Escort hit 200.50 mph during qualifying. Overall, five different drivers went over 200 during the four qualifying sessions. The 200-mph mark was surpassed 11 times out of 30 passes during eliminations.
* Mark Whisnant, from Stockbridge, Ga., earned a $1,000 bonus by earning the Motel 6 'Who Got the Light' award when he defeated No. 11 qualifier Taylor Lastor III by 0.0005 of-a-second margin of victory in the opening round of Pro Stock eliminations.
* Anderson's victory extended his lead in the POWERade standings. He leads Kurt Johnson by 63 points, and he has a 101-point lead over his former employer, Warren Johnson.
* Notable DNQ's: Jim Yates, Troy Coughlin, George Marnell, and Mark Pawuk.