MOHNTON, PA (OCT. 5) --Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite/Snake Racing Top Fuel team continued a dominate march toward the POWERade NHRA 2003 championship title while posting a round two finish at the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple...
MOHNTON, PA (OCT. 5) --Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite/Snake Racing Top Fuel team continued a dominate march toward the POWERade NHRA 2003 championship title while posting a round two finish at the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
One of only two tracks Dixon has yet to win at (St. Louis), Maple Grove Raceway is also the location in which crew chief Dick LaHaie came to work for Don "The Snake" Prudhomme. LaHaie has since tuned the Miller Lite/Mac Tools dragster to an NHRA championship title and 26 of Dixon's 33 career victories.
Dixon began his quest for the winner's circle in round one of final eliminations against No. 14 qualifier Luigi Novelli. The Miller Lite dragster launched hard, shaking and smoking the tires until Dixon eased off his 7,000 horse-powered machine near mid track. Fortunately for Dixon Novelli jumped the starting line early and red lit, automatically advancing the Miller Lite team to round two. Two weeks in a row LaHaie and the Miller Lite dragster would make a "with-drawl from the luck bank." Dixon posting a 12.004-second run at 75.00 mph.
The Don Prudhomme dragster advanced to round two taking on Paul Romine, looking to improve an 8-2 career mark against the CarQuest dragster. Dixon's first race at Maple Grove in 1995 was his best when posting a runner-up finish. In the seven years to follow Dixon has recorded one semifinal finish (1996), three second round victories (1997, 2001, 02') and three first round finishes (1998, 99', 2000).
The Miller Lite dragster nearly ran the wheels off, shaking hard from the start forcing Dixon to once again shut it off near the 330-foot marker. Despite an incredible effort and luck on his side, Dixon's day would end early but his championship hopes would remain very much alive. Also smoking the tires, Paul Romine was able to pedal for the win at 5.265-seconds (217.56 mph) over Dixon's 11.596-second pass at 78.34 mph.
Although unsatisfied with a second round finish Dixon's day had a bittersweet ending. His closest challenger in the NHRA championship race, Doug Kalitta was knocked off in round one nearly closing the door on his championship hopes.
At the completion of the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Dixon stands strong in his POWERade Top Fuel point lead at 1,829 points (338 ahead) with only three events remaining. The NHRA POWERade series moves to Dallas, Texas for the running of the 18th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals (Oct. 9-12th).
ESPN2's television coverage of the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals will air Oct.12 at 5:00 PM ET.