Pomona II: Larry Dixon eliminations summary

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9) -- Current NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and the Snake Racing/Miller Lite team end the 2003 racing tour on a high note and post a second round finish at the 39th Annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona ...

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 9) -- Current NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and the Snake Racing/Miller Lite team end the 2003 racing tour on a high note and post a second round finish at the 39th Annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway.

In the first round of Sunday eliminations the Miller Lite/Mac Tools driver paired against No.12 qualifier Rhonda Hartman Smith. Dixon who has a near flawless record against Rhonda (13-1), would further improve his record with a 4.539-second lap (321.27 mph) defeating Rhonda's time of 4.654-seconds (308.14 mph).

In the second round it was the battle of the two-time Top Fuel champions, Larry Dixon and Scott Kalitta. The Miller Lite dragster holds an impressive 58-14 win loss record during Sunday eliminations and has collected eight wins on the 23-stop NHRA POWERade Racing Tour. Dixon hoped to make it win number nine in front of a standing room only Pomona Raceway crowd.

The LaHaie tuned dragster had run consistently all weekend, running in the mid 4.50's and a low 4.511 ET during the $100,000 Top Fuel Shootout. Unfortunately, the dragsters consistency went up in smoke at the hit of the throttle. Dixon coasted to 11.588-second lap (77.88 mph) while Scott Kalitta took the win at 331.36 mph (4.497 ET).

"I'm thrilled it's over," said Dixon, "it's been a great year. Am I sad it's over? Yes, we have a good car and you know me, I want to continue racing. But we did what we set out to do, win races and the POWERade title.

All year the fans have been great. I've seen other drivers going down the return road getting booed, because they win all the time. We can win a lot, but we still don't get booed. I'm proud of that. We're still able to win and people still like us, like a John Force car.

There's not too many ego's in this group, we don't act cocky and we're grateful for what we have accomplished. We put our pants on like everybody else and try to go down the racetrack.

Right now I'm looking forward to testing," says an anxious Dixon. "As far as equipment goes, we have three year old pieces on the car and we've been able to run with it and run well, whereas some teams have brand new equipment and technology. Soon we'll have all new parts on the car and will just have to see what it does from there."

"I'm glad it's over," said Crew Chief Dick LaHaie. "This has been the year from hell, even when we were winning there was always something wrong. I think it was because I was so afraid that I was going to hurt him (Dixon) on account of the tires (after the crash). It was that distraction that over-shadowed the entire season."

"Yes I can believe it's over," said Assistant Crew Chief Donnie Bender. "They always get long about this time of the year. We didn't really have a chance to celebrate the championship because we've been working so hard, but we will at the NHRA banquet."

Miller Lite Crew:

John Collins:
All things come to an end and yes, I'm happy this season is finally over. Winning the championship was great but now we have our work cut out for us over the next two months.

Shawn Ford:
Yes, I'm glad it's over. I'm happy we won the championship and we'll get to go home.

Walt Herr:
We're glad it's over, now we'll have time to relax and take it easy. Yet we know in the back of our minds that we'll start working hard over the winter because we have a lot of stuff going on to get ready for next year. We didn't finish the year like we would have like to and everyone else is running good, so we'll have to work a little harder over the winter to get ready for next season.

Kevin Secco:
Glad it's finally over, but I'm not looking forward to the wintertime. Although it's been a long season, it all seems to run together after awhile.

Paul Tucholsky:
Glad it's over. But there won't be much time off; we're going straight back to work.

Jason Wright:
It's defiantly been a long year, longer than last year. It seems like it's been a bigger workload especially this year. We have several projects and things to be done. With the holidays coming up, people think that you'll spend a lot of time with family, but that's not the case, not with so much work to be done.

Anthony Vanetii:
It actually went by really quick, not having weekends off you'd think that it would have dragged on, but really it went by pretty quick. It feels like yesterday we were here for the Winternationals and here we are tearing down and the season is over.

You always like to go out with a win and equal last year's mark of nine wins, we may not have won the battle today, but at least we won the war.

ESPN2 will re-air the Sunday final elimination action on Wednesday, Nov. 12th from 4:00-6:00 AM (ET).

- www.snakeracing.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force , Scott Kalitta , Jason Wright