Miller Lite Team eyes double duty. Defending Shootout champ Dixon hopes to cash in on $200,000 challenge. POMONA, Ca. (Nov. 4) - 2002 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion, Larry Dixon should go into Pomona Raceway for the 38th annual Auto Club NHRA...
Miller Lite Team eyes double duty.
Defending Shootout champ Dixon hopes to cash in on $200,000 challenge.
POMONA, Ca. (Nov. 4) - 2002 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion, Larry Dixon should go into Pomona Raceway for the 38th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals feeling relaxed, having claimed his first Top Fuel championship in Las Vegas two weeks ago. Such is not the case, however, as he already has his sights set on another prize.
No matter the stakes, Dixon remains driven to continue his winning ways. This weekend, his Dick LaHaie-led Miller Lite team will be gunning to add another winning note to their championship season by doubling up and cashing in on a very enticing and profitable bonus.
In addition to the challenge presented by the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the Miller Lite team will have to contend with the annual $100,000 Top Fuel Shootout on Saturday, where a win could be the first step towards ringing up even bigger dollar signs. Should Dixon emerge victorious from the all-star qualifying event and follow that up with a winning performance on Sunday in the Auto Club NHRA Finals, the back-to-back wins will earn the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite team a $200,000 bonus award from the NHRA.
"With the championship already decided, there's certainly a lot less money on the line going into the race," said Dixon. "But there's still a lot of money on the line for that event. If you're able to double up there's $200,000 out there, so we're certainly going to try our best to show well at both events."
If past results are any indication, Dixon is in a good position, with two conquests in the specialty Top Fuel race. He took home the first win during his rookie season in 1995, repeated that performance last year when he seized his second title, and has a runner up finish in 1997.
Overall, Dixon's career has flourished on Pomona with wins in the 1998 and 2002 editions of the season-opening Winternationals. Although he's yet to win in the NHRA Finals, he arrives this year with the confidence that comes from being the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion and that's a homecoming he relishes. After all, his racing heritage is based in the Los Angeles area, having started as a crewman for championship caliber driver Don Prudhomme in 1988. His dedication paid off as the legendary 'Snake' recognized his potential, aptly placing Dixon in the driver's cockpit upon his retirement at the conclusion of the 1994 NHRA season.
"From a driving standpoint, I enjoy going there," said Dixon. "I was born and raised in Southern California. I just feel better racing there. I really do. More cases than not, it seems we show well when we run there. I'm always thrilled to go there. I've got a lot of friends and family that come out to the race. I grew up about 35-miles from the racetrack and it's always neat to go back home."
The Auto Club NHRA Finals starts on Thursday with one qualifying session at 2:30 p.m. PT. Qualifying continues on Friday with another single session at 2:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dixon goes for the $100,000 shootout prize with the round 1 beginning at 12:15 p.m. Sunday's race begins promptly at 11:00 a.m.