Phoenix: Larry Dixon - first career pole

From The Snake Pit Larry Dixon Pilots Miller Lite-Arizona Diamondbacks Dragster To His First Career Pole At Firebird International Raceway CHANDLER, ARIZ. (Feb. 23) - Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Snake Racing Top Fuel team played like World...

From The Snake Pit
Larry Dixon Pilots Miller Lite-Arizona Diamondbacks Dragster To His First Career Pole At Firebird International Raceway

CHANDLER, ARIZ. (Feb. 23) - Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Snake Racing Top Fuel team played like World Series Champions Saturday as the Miller Lite-Arizona Diamondbacks Dragster's lap of 4.555 seconds at 321.50 mph secured the pole for Sunday's elimination round at the 18th Annual Checker Schucks Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Dixon came into the final day of qualifying as the provisional leader with his pass of 4.555 seconds recorded on Friday afternoon. While that stout number held as quickest throughout qualifying, crew chief Dick LaHaie still pushed the Miller Lite Team, resulting in low elapsed time of both sessions today. Dixon's first pass of the afternoon came in the left lane and produced a time of 4.57 seconds at 321.35 mph. His second run saw him pick up on that time with a clocking of 4.565 seconds at 320.97, giving Dixon 4.5-second qualifying efforts during three of the four sessions. For Dixon, the $4,000 low qualifier award marked his first at Firebird, his first of the 2002 POWERade season, and the 13th of his eight-year driving career.

"The conditions (today) were there for someone to run a 50 flat or even a high 40, and it wasn't us, but it wasn't anybody else either, so we got lucky there," said Dixon. "The track actually tightened up a whole bunch and I think it kind of messed with our set up a little bit. Maybe we were underpowered or over-clutched for it. Overall, I am happy. We wound up being quick both sessions and when we do that we usually do well on race day. Usually the pole is set on Friday nights and Saturday is more like race day, so I am very happy with how things turned out."

When asked if preseason testing at Firebird aided LaHaie in his tuning duties for this weekend's race, he did not feel as though he had any kind of advantage. "The track isn't prepared the same way during a race as it is for testing," said LaHaie. "Track owners prepare it when we test, while NHRA prepares it when we race. They have to run an enormous number of cars down the race track, so NHRA prepares it in a way that will keep it from breaking down and balling up. We just have to adjust to a different type of surface. So, we really didn't learn much. We learned a little bit about the altitude and the air and how to make the engine run, but as far as getting down the race track, no."

Dixon will put Top Fuel's longest first round win streak (27) on the line when he takes on No. 16 qualifier John Smith. Dixon, who won the 1995 Top Fuel crown at Firebird, owns a career mark of 2-0 against Smith. Sunday's elimination round is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM MT.

- www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Don Prudhomme