READING, PA (Oct. 2) - Larry Dixon finds himself and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster in a unique position going into this weekend's 17th Annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway (Oct. 5-7). With only four national ...
READING, PA (Oct. 2) - Larry Dixon finds himself and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster in a unique position going into this weekend's 17th Annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway (Oct. 5-7).
With only four national events remaining on the 2001 NHRA Drag Racing Series schedule, Dixon is as close to winning a Winston Top Fuel Championship as he has ever been in his seven-year driving career. He has won more races (5), reached more finals (8) and accumulated more points (1,701) than in any of his previous seasons driving for team owner Prudhomme's Snake Racing.
But along with success comes constant challenges from those who wish to surpass you. That challenge comes from Dixon's chief rival, Kenny Bernstein, who has battled with the Miller Lite Team all season long and who trailed Dixon in the points races for over one month before retaking a slim 14-point lead last weekend with his win at Joliet's Route 66 Raceway.
Dixon believes that the pendulum of momentum is due to swing back in his favor as the season draws to a close. Before Dixon's semifinal finish to Bernstein last weekend, the Miller pilot won two out of the previous three races (Brainerd, Indianapolis), however Bernstein has come out on top at the last two events, including Dixon's runner-up finish to Bernstein at Memphis.
"These last two races they have made a move on us, they have been better the last two races," said Dixon. "We were better the two before and hopefully it will come back to us at the next two."
The rescheduling of the Reading national event due to the September 11 incident brings the 6,500 horsepower machines to a great Maple Grove track even later in the year, with cooler temperatures and great race conditions.
"I really think you'll see conditions better than what we had last week in Chicago," said Dixon. "I'll say that 10-15 years ago when we used to go to Reading, that was one of the better tracks at the end of the season before the races like Dallas and Houston came along. The records used to be broke all the time there. Well, last year they ground the race track and as long as the last winter didn't put any new bumps in the track, our going there a month later should make it real fast - I would say even faster than last weekend."