POMONA,CA (Feb. 3) Larry Dixon and Crew Chief Dick LaHaie seem to have found the additional horsepower they were looking for during off-season testing as they posted the top speed mark during qualifying (318.84 mph) and claimed the No. 3 spot for...
POMONA,CA (Feb. 3) Larry Dixon and Crew Chief Dick LaHaie seem to have found the additional horsepower they were looking for during off-season testing as they posted the top speed mark during qualifying (318.84 mph) and claimed the No. 3 spot for Sunday's elimination round at the 2001 NHRA Winternationals.
Qualifying third overall with Saturday's lap of 4.600 seconds at 316.82 mph. Dixon, the 1998 Winternationals champion and two-time finalist, has put himself in good position to win his second title at Pomona Raceway. Dixon will take on No. 14 Robert Rheel (5.116 seconds at 282.36 mph) in the first round, marking the first career meeting between the two Top Fuel pilots.
The top speed mark proved to show a boost in power for the Miller Lite Dragster, which combined with four consistent elapsed times during qualifying (4.632, 4.600, 4.657, 4.625), to give LaHaie a pretty good feeling heading into tomorrow's elimination round.
"We worked this winter on trying to find some horsepower and I think we did that," said LaHaie. "We are approaching 320 mph, the motor looks nice and we just need to keep working at it. "We had a little problem during that last run (4.625 seconds at 318.84 mph) where it dropped a cylinder right at the step, it went on to the second half, picked it up and we still ran good. I think we have a pretty good hot rod here, we just need to learn how to race it."
One aspect affecting all Top Fuel crew chiefs will be the importance of lane choice. LaHaie also feels pretty good about the performance of the Miller Lite Team in both lanes during qualifying. "That's why I wanted to go down that right lane," said LaHaie. "We headed down it pretty good, in fact we had top speed in that lane. When it comes to lane choice it is going to depend on the time of day and where the sun is shining on it. If we are in that right lane and the sun is off it, I think we will be all right."
ESPN 2 will televise qualifying rounds of this year's Winternationals tonight (9:30-11:30 PM ET) with elimination rounds to air on ESPN, Sunday, Feb. 4 (8-9 PM ET) and later(11-Midnight ET) on ESPN 2.
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