Pomona: Larry Dixon Saturday qualifying notes

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 9) Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Snake Racing Dragster ran the quickest lap in each of the final two qualifying sessions Saturday to finish in the No. 2 spot for Sunday's elimination rounds at the 42nd Annual K&N Filters NHRA...

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 9) Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Snake Racing Dragster ran the quickest lap in each of the final two qualifying sessions Saturday to finish in the No. 2 spot for Sunday's elimination rounds at the 42nd Annual K&N Filters NHRA Winternationals.

Dixon came into the final day of qualifying in the No. 6 position with his elapsed time of 4.655 seconds at 312.42 mph ar un that the Miller Lite Team knew they could improve on. And improve on it they did as Dixon posted a lap of 4.573 seconds at 325.06 mph, which was quickest of the opening session and moved him up to No. 2. Crew Chief Dick LaHaie was not about to rest on that run as he tinkered with the Miller Lite/Mac Tools Dragster to produce the team's best run of the weekend, clocking in at 4.509 seconds at 326.87 mph. The pass was both the quickest and the fastest for Dixon so far during this young 2002 NHRA POWERade season.

After a somewhat disappointing start for Dixon on Thursday, he was very glad to see a reversal of fortune by the end of qualifying. "Obviously it is better to go the way we did by improving, than to go in the other direction," said Dixon. "Dick LaHaie has a brand new engine combination and we don't have the baseline yet to come into a race knowing that we will be able to get down the racetrack until he gets a better feel for the power level of this engine, the clutch combination and the new tire. I think he is figuring it out pretty quickly, though."

"What an exciting run that last one was," exclaimed Dixon referring to his 4.509-second blast. "It carried the front end up past the 330-foot clocks. Our car didn't carry the front end that far even on our 4.48 a couple of years ago. I don't know how it didn't go over. I guess the wheelie bar earned its money on that run. It carried the front end up a couple of feet in the air and I am going over 240 mph and it carried past that, so to be going near 250 mph without being able to steer is pretty exciting. When the front finally came down then it was just a matter of steering back into the groove. There is always a thought of lifting, but it didn't go high enough up for me to switch from thinking about it to doing it. I was watching it though it had my attention."

The Miller Lite Team owns the longest first round win streak in Top Fuel with 26 consecutive opening round victories and will put that record to the test against No. 15 qualifier Darrell Russell. Dixon holds a undefeated career mark of 5 wins and no losses against Russell, with all meetings coming during Russell's 2001 NHRA Rookie of the year campaign. Dixon has one career low-qualifier effort at Pomona Raceway (1997) and has won the Winternationals once (1998).

Sunday's elimination round is scheduled for a 10:30 AM PT start. The elimination rounds will air on Sunday, Feb. 10 from 5:00-7:00 PM ET (ESPN).

-www.snakeracing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Dick LaHaie