DIXON FINISHES SECOND IN POWERADE STANDINGS; POSTS SECOND-ROUND FINISH AT POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) & ...
DIXON FINISHES SECOND IN POWERADE STANDINGS; POSTS SECOND-ROUND FINISH AT POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 6, 2005) Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon raced his Miller Lite dragster to a quarterfinal finish Sunday at Pomona Raceway en route to a second place finish in the POWERade Top Fuel standings as the 2005 NHRA season came to a close.
The three-time Pomona Raceway winner opened eliminations when he drove the Miller Lite/Ameriquest rail to a performance of 4.534 seconds at 325.22 mph to knock off veteran Top Fuel racer Cory McClenathan. Cory Mac's rail dropped cylinders and slowed to a 5.361-second pass.
"Last night, we ran that 4.52 and finished eighth and we knew we would be the first pair," Dixon said. "Could we have run quicker, yes. But should you take a chance, no. We thought that if we ran close to what we ran in qualifying that that would be good enough to get the win and we did that and got the win light. It was a great run for being first pair."
In the second round, Dixon used a starting line advantage to get the jump over the Alan Johnson-tuned dragster, but the Miller-backed rail dropped a cylinder and recorded a run of 4.672 at 298.73, while the Johnson-tuned machine turned a time of 4.513 at 324.69 to earn the trip to the semifinals. It marked the final race of Dick LaHaie's tuning career. LaHaie, the only Top Fuel competitor to win championships as both a driver (1987) and tuner (1994-95, 2002-03), will hand the crew chief duties of the Miller Lite dragster over to assistant Donnie Bender in 2006.
"We had a cylinder out a second and-a-half into the run," Dixon said. "We had the quickest 60-foot time of the round and even with a cylinder out, our 330-foot (time) was quicker than the first round, so the car was looking to run a 4.50. We would have only needed a 4.53 to get the win, would, coulda, shoulda. The car slowed down to a 4.67."
Dixon earned three victories in seven final round appearances in 2005, including a win at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, on the way towards his second career second-place finish. Dixon is the winningest active Top Fuel driver with 38 career victories.
"After you've been No. 1, all the other positions don't really matter," Dixon said. "Sure, there's a little money difference, but not that much. We all shoot to be No. 1. Nobody starts the season wanting to be second. Looking back from our 2004 to our 2005, it was a big improvement. We won Indy and that was definitely the highlight of the season. Our crew chief (Dick LaHaie) is retiring and I think he's had one of the best runs in drag racing history and I was glad to be a part for one of those segments."