Madison: Larry Dixon preview

Defending NHRA Powerade Champ Larry Dixon looks for success in St. Louis MADISON, ILL. (June 23rd)- If you think defending Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon is confident headed into St. Louis for the Seventh Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals (June ...

Defending NHRA Powerade Champ Larry Dixon looks for success in St. Louis

MADISON, ILL. (June 23rd)- If you think defending Top Fuel Champion Larry Dixon is confident headed into St. Louis for the Seventh Annual Sears Craftsman Nationals (June 25-29th), holding down five wins and a huge NHRA points lead, you'd be wrong. Dixon and the Miller Lite dragster approach every race the same, just hoping to qualify.

Dixon and the Miller Lite Don Prudhomme owned dragster is dominating the season much like last year. After their win in Columbus Ohio last weekend, Dixon and crew gained a 268-point lead compared to the 259-points they held last year. Also having won seven races this time last year, bearing resemblance to his five wins in 2003. At this near halfway mark in the series...the Miller Lite dragster could very well be en-route to a second NHRA POWERade championship title.

While considering the many similarities you also can't help but realize the two differences. Dixon is quick to point them out. "Last year at this point we had more wins, but our car wasn't as consistent, this year our car is consistent, I like how things are going, even better than last year." Consistency has been the Miller motto this year, qualifying for the last 22 races and is among the top five qualifiers nearly every race this year.

Twenty-two would mean a lot more to Dixon and the crew had they qualified in St. Louis last year. "It was disappointing that we didn't get to race. But come Sunday they take the 16 quickest and the 16 best cars for that particular weekend, and we weren't one of them. That's pretty much it. We just flat missed the set up. We weren't able to adapt to the conditions for that weekend. We didn't deserve to be in the show."

But without fail, crew chief Dick LaHaie will turn those costly errors into valuable experience and information for the next track. And while LaHaie works on consistency, Dixon hopes to qualify, remaining humble to his success so far.

"If we don't run well, you don't get to race. I've been to a few races where we didn't make it. We didn't qualify. So qualifying is important to me. That's all I think about. You can't win anything if you don't qualify, so you'd better work on qualifying first and not take it for granted because it can happen to anybody."

Dixon adding, "momentum is only as good as your last run. You just try and do well on every given run. Last year we had good momentum, but then we go to St. Louis and don't qualify, so what did momentum buy us there? Nothing. We have to go out there and work for the momentum, and that's what we're going to try and do in St. Lois."

ESPN2 will air qualifying starting on Saturday from 10-midnight with final round coverage of the sixth annual Craftsman Nationals airing on Sunday, June 29th 9-11:00PM ET.

2003 NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings
1. LARRY DIXON 1053 - - -
2. Doug Kalitta 785 268 out
3. Darrell Russell 646 407 out
4. Brandon Bernstein 629 424 out
5. Cory McClenathan 602 451 out
6. Tony Schumacher 562 491 out
7. John Smith 538 515 out
8. Doug Herbert 533 520 out
9. David Baca 508 545 out
10. Jim Head 422 631 out

-www.snakeracing.com-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie , Brandon Bernstein