Las Vegas: Raceday summary

Dixon, Densham, Krisher claim victories at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. LAS VEGAS -- Larry Dixon continued to set a dominating pace in NHRA Top Fuel competition Sunday by scoring his third victory of the young season at the NHRA...

Dixon, Densham, Krisher claim victories at NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- Larry Dixon continued to set a dominating pace in NHRA Top Fuel competition Sunday by scoring his third victory of the young season at the NHRA Nationals.

Gary Densham and Ron Krisher also were winners at the $1.9 million race, the fourth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Dixon was consistently quick in his special edition Elvis Presley-tribute Miller Lite dragster throughout the day and outran Cory McClenathan in the final round to claim his 19th career victory, and first-ever at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dixon covered the quarter-mile in 4.639 seconds at 319.29 mph to cross the finish line in front of McClenathan, who posted a 4.728 at 313.88 in his first final round appearance since the 2000 season. Dixon knocked off Scott Weis, David Grubnic and Tony Schumacher to advance to his fourth final of the season.

"What a great day," said Dixon, who earned more than $40,000 for the win. "I'm really happy. We had a few problems early but we figured them out and got it done. This team is awesome and we are really clicking right now. To run the quickest pass of the day in the final round... all I can say is wow."

With the win, he increased his series points lead to 147 over defending champion Kenny Bernstein.

"I know I need to keep this pace up for seven more months if we are going to win the championship," said Dixon. "We can't get over-confident at this point because we've got 19 races to go. We're going to celebrate tonight and start preparing for Houston."

Densham earned his third career Funny Car victory, taking a photo-finish win over Tommy Johnson Jr. Densham, who defeated Frank Pedregon, John Lawson and Del Worsham in early rounds, powered his Auto Club/Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a final-round 5.409 at 205.13 to edge Johnson's Skoal Chevy Camaro, which clocked a 5.447 at 272.61.

"This is absolutely dynamite," said Densham, who after 30 years of racing without a victory, has claimed three of the last 10 races dating back to last season. "Once you get that first one, it seems like they just keep falling into place. In all the years I've been racing I have put in a lot of luck deposits and have never got anything back. Today it was different. To win here, what a dream."

Densham's $40,000 victory gave some solace to team owner John Force, who was denied once again in his bid to earn his 100th career Funny Car victory. Force, who leads the series standings by 20, was upset in the second round by Worsham, who anchors the second spot in the season standings.

"It would've been great to win the 100th here at Las Vegas with Elvis riding with me," said Force, who also featured a special Elvis Presley-tribute design on his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. "It wasn't our day. We'll go on to Houston and see if we can get it done there."

Krisher took his first victory of the season and fourth of his career, beating Darrell Alderman in a classic Chevy vs. Dodge match-up. Krisher covered the distance in 7.016 at 197.83 in his Eagle One Cavalier, while Alderman trailed in his Team Mopar Neon R/T at 7.026 at 197.54.

Krisher defeated JR Carr, Jeg Coughlin and Jim Yates to advance to the final.

"That first round was the biggest win I've had in my career," said a relieved Krisher, whose consistently quick car has been plagued by a variety of problems on race day all season. "Once I got that first round under my belt, I knew we were going to be OK. You need a little confidence to win races, and I think we found some today."

Hometown favorite George Marnell posted a semifinal finish to maintain the points lead, 15 in front of Yates. Krisher moved to fifth overall in the standings, 45 points behind the leader.

"We have the quickest and fastest car out here and I think everybody realizes that," said Krisher, who earned $25,000 for the victory. "I think we can make a run for the championship and we've got as good a shot at it as anyone."

The Next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, April 11-14.


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Scott Weis , Del Worsham , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Ron Krisher , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , George Marnell , Tommy Johnson Jr.