Pomona II: Larry Dixon Saturday summary

Dixon qualified no.5 headed into NHRA World Finals. POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 8) -- Current NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and the Dick LaHaie-led Snake Racing/Miller Lite Team are qualified in the No. 5 position for Sunday's Auto Club...

Dixon qualified no.5 headed into NHRA World Finals.

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 8) -- Current NHRA POWERade Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and the Dick LaHaie-led Snake Racing/Miller Lite Team are qualified in the No. 5 position for Sunday's Auto Club NHRA Finals with a time of 4.534-seconds and top speed of 326.87 mph.

After winning his second NHRA POWERade Top Fuel championship, Miller Lite/ Don Prudhomme driver Larry Dixon was given a check for $400,000. Not that he's greedy, but he'd like another one hundred grand. Hoping to become the first driver in NHRA history to win back-to-back Top Fuel Shootout titles and $100,000, Dixon faced No. 10 seeded John Smith in the first round the Top Fuel Shootout.

Dixon, a three-time Shootout winner (1998, 2002, 03') drove past Smith who hazed the tires mid-track. The Miller Lite driver posted a 4.542-second lap at 323.04 mph over Smith's 4.994 ET at 272.61 mph and a ticket to the semifinals where he would face Tony Schumacher.

Crew chief Dick LaHaie would need his 45 years of drag racing experience to compete with Team Army's 4.455-second run recorded in round one of the Shootout. Although Dixon recorded his best time of the weekend with a 4.511-second lap (324.98 mph), it was not good enough to withstand Schumacher's 4.498-second lap (329.26 mph).

"Alan (Johnson) is stealing the show with his 4.40's right now," said crew chief Dick LaHaie. "We have to go out there and do the best we can with the numbers we can put up and hope that as we're trying new things we'll catch up with him."

Despite an impressive 4.511-second lap, the run would not count toward Dixon's qualifying efforts, unlike the first Shootout session.

The Don Prudhomme driver, who has won eight of 22 final round appearances, took on Darrell Russell in the final round of qualifying. Dixon produced a 4.534-second pass at 323.35 mph, enough to defeat Russell's 4.570-second lap at 282.60 mph. At the completion of four rounds of qualifying, the Miller Lite team will start from the No. 5 seed headed into Sunday's NHRA World Finals.

"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to try and win as many races as we could in order to win the championship," said Dixon, "anything else that comes along is just icing. The object of the game is to try and win the POWERade title and we were able to do that."

Just minutes from the neighborhood of North Hollywood where he grew up, Dixon would like to finish the 2003 season at Pomona Raceway with a ninth win for the year, tying his own record of most wins in a season (2002).

In order to do so, the Miller Lite/Mac Tools dragster must win four rounds beginning with No. 12 qualifier Rhonda Hartman Smith, who Dixon will face in the first round of tomorrow's finals.

The 39th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals begins at 11:00 AM and will air on ESPN2 from 4:00 - 7:00 PM (ET) and from 10:00 -11:30 PM (ET).

-www.snakeracing.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie