From The Snake Pit Defending champ & points leader Larry Dixon posts second round finish at seventh annual Sears Craftsman Nationals MADISON, ILL (June 29th) - Defending POWERade NHRA Champion Larry Dixon posted a second round finish at the ...
From The Snake Pit
Defending champ & points leader Larry Dixon posts second round finish at seventh annual Sears Craftsman Nationals
MADISON, ILL (June 29th) - Defending POWERade NHRA Champion Larry Dixon posted a second round finish at the Seventh Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Dixon drove the Miller Lite dragster to a 4.738-second run at a speed of 311.70 mph during the second round of final eliminations on Sunday.
For the first round, crew chief Dick LaHaie went head to head with scorching track conditions, while Dixon went against No.14 qualifier Tony Schumacher. LaHaie beat the 135-degree track temperature and Dixon beat Schumacher's speed of 300.00 mph (4.802 ET), running an incredible 4.681-second run (320.89 mph).
"How did we do it? It the whole combination," answered LaHaie. "It's my train of thought, Donny's train of thought and how we approach what we need to do; in addition to the whole combination and how we adjust everything. We prepare the car before we come to this race. Then we adjust it accordingly. We've got a good combination."
Taking the successful combination onto round two, Dixon paired against Darrell Russell. The Don Prudhomme dragster last saw Russell in Columbus, Ohio in the final round. Russell smoked the tires early and Dixon went on to win his third consecutive Pontiac Nationals title. However, the Miller Lite dragster blew a cylinder early on and although extremely close at the finish, fell short to Russell. Dixon posted a 4.738 ET (311.70 mph) to Russell's 4.712 ET (314.24 mph).
"Excluding our second round run, the five runs prior to that (qualifying/round one), all averaged 4.68, exactly what we ran first round," said LaHaie. "With that kind of an average, I felt we could've won the race. When the track cools off, it'll run 4.50's just like we want it to, but we didn't get that far. We'll just have to wait till the next race."
The DNQ from St. Louis last year is officially old news. The Miller Lite team has more than redeemed itself, as pointed out by LaHaie. "If you look at the stats of every car, nobody made it down the track four runs in a row during qualifying...except for us."
Strangely enough, LaHaie wasn't surprised by the DNQ in 2002. "We were destined to not qualify here last year. Something was going to happen I guess. You have to remember, we had won seven races and had been to eleven finals. People thought we could walk on water."
ESPN2 will re-air final coverage of the Seventh Annual Craftsman Nationals on June 30th from 2:30-4:00AM (ET) and from 2-4:00 PM. Or check out the newly designed snakeracing.com website, where you'll find frequently updated team info.