MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2004) - For some unspecified reason, certain drivers have loads of success at some tracks and very little success at others. Why is that? Perhaps a little bit of lady luck comes into play or maybe the tuner and race...
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2004) - For some unspecified reason, certain drivers have loads of success at some tracks and very little success at others. Why is that? Perhaps a little bit of lady luck comes into play or maybe the tuner and race crew have a solid handle on the conditions they face at a given facility.
Although it took Larry Dixon eight tries before reaching the winner's circle at Memphis Motorsports Park, the two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion has been to the money round at the western Tennessee facility five times in nine tries at Memphis.
Dixon and the Miller Lite crew look to continue their string of solid performances at M.M.P. when the NHRA POWERade Series makes its final 2004 visit to Tennessee for the 17th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Aug. 20-22, a race Dixon won in 2002 en route to claiming his first series crown.
"I think the last three or four years there, we've gone to the final round at Memphis," Dixon said. "We seem to do pretty good at that race. People seem to talk about our crash in 2000 more than anything else, but we run well at Memphis. A lot of people forget that we should have won that race because (Gary) Scelzi smoked the tires in the final round before the crash."
Of the 20 tracks on the 2004 NHRA schedule, Dixon has collected victories at 18 of them, has multiple wins at 10 tracks, 34 total event titles, and has made a final round appearance at each track except Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. How come all the good fortune?
"It has to do with the tune-up of the race car and how it applies to the race track and the conditions that you're faced with," Dixon said. "Some places you just hit it better I guess. It's hard to explain."
With the Memphis race being moved to mid-August, Dixon and champion tuner Dick LaHaie will deal with 90-plus degree temperatures and a hot, sticky Memphis Motorsports Park quarter-mile. LaHaie has built a reputation as arguably the best hot-weather tuner in the sport. Given their past success, there's an excellent chance that Dixon will drive his Miller Lite dragster back into the final round at Memphis for a fifth consecutive season.