MILLINGTON, TENN (Sept. 23) Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme Racing's Miller Lite Top Fuel team recorded a runner-up finish at Memphis Motorsports Park for the second year in a row Sunday to remain in first place in the Winston points race. Dixon...
MILLINGTON, TENN (Sept. 23) Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme Racing's Miller Lite Top Fuel team recorded a runner-up finish at Memphis Motorsports Park for the second year in a row Sunday to remain in first place in the Winston points race.
Dixon was not as disappointed as some would think considering how close he came to logging his first win at M.M.P. "Actually, I think we were pretty lucky to go as far as we did today," said Dixon. "We were having some engine troubles for most of the day and were never really able to get the car to run the way we are used to."
"The car ran really well in the first round, but we wanted to run around a mid 4.60 in the second round and it went 4.71, so we kinda got lucky with that round. Then in the semifinals, we needed a holeshot to get past Mike Dunn. The way I look at it, all the points we got after the second round were a bonus. We still aren't exactly sure what the problem was, but I am sure that Dick LaHaie and the guys will have it figured out in plenty of time to go racing in Joliet next weekend."
The Miller team started off the day as the No. 1 qualifier and had a first round appointment with No. 16 qualifier Don Sosenka. Dixon used a lap of 4.645 seconds at 307.79 mph for his second career win over Sosenka, who clocked in at 5.623 seconds at 240.04 mph. The second round saw Dixon post a lap of 4.711 seconds at 305.70 mph to defeat Army Dragster driver Tony Schumacher (4.739 secs. at 302.41 mph). The win put Dixon in the semifinals for the 15th time out of 19 races in 2001.
In the semis, Mike Dunn and the New York Yankees Dragster actually ran a quicker time (4.675 secs.) than the Miller Lite car (4.682 secs. at 307.30 mph), but Dixon's reaction time advantage - .473 to a .500 proved to be the difference as Prudhomme's Top Fueler advanced to the finals for the eighth time this season. Dixon would not get his first career win at Memphis however as his lap of 4.753 seconds at 304.05 mph fell short to Kenny Bernstein's pass of 4.682 seconds at 308.78 mph.
Dixon remains atop the Winston NHRA Top Fuel point standings with a total of 1,625 points, and holds a 27-point lead over Bernstein (1,598) with just five races left on the 2001 schedule. The Miller Lite Team is back in action next weekend (Sept. 27-30) for the Inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.