Richmond: Larry Dixon rain makeup preview

DIXON AIMS FOR DEFINING VICTORY AS MILLER LITE TEAM RETURNS TO VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 11, 2006) -- It's amazing what a victory can mean for an entire race team. Just ask Larry Dixon, driver of the Miller Lite Top Fuel ...

DIXON AIMS FOR DEFINING VICTORY AS MILLER LITE TEAM RETURNS TO VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK

INDIANAPOLIS (Oct. 11, 2006) -- It's amazing what a victory can mean for an entire race team. Just ask Larry Dixon, driver of the Miller Lite Top Fuel dragster and owner of two NHRA Top Fuel championships. He knows the power of a win.

When Dixon beat Kenny Bernstein in the Top Fuel final at Virginia Motorsports Park in 2000, it signaled the beginning of great things to come for Dixon and his crew chief -- now retired tuner Dick LaHaie.

"Our win in Richmond was great for a lot of reasons," Dixon said. "It was the first time we ever won back-to-back races. We had just earned the win at Houston just before Richmond. It was the first full season we had LaHaie tuning the car and it was finally starting to run the way he wanted it to. That was the early formation of the package that we put together to win two championships. Those two wins, especially the win in Richmond, really let us know our capabilities."

LaHaie, the Miller Lite crew and Dixon finished third in the final point standings in 2000 and finished second in 2001 before taking the championship between 2002-'03. Between 2000-'03, the team earned 25 victories in 42 final rounds. Dixon's current tuner, Don Bender, was there the entire time, working closely with LaHaie.

"It takes a while to get a handle on these cars," Dixon said. "Look at our Funny Car. Mike Green has been working on that Funny Car for a while and he's got a good combination now. He's tuning the car well, Tommy (Johnson Jr.) is driving really well and they have a great crew working on the car. They know they have a chance of winning any event they go to right now. But that didn't happen overnight.

"What they have achieved over time is what Donnie is working to achieve and it just takes time to get everything in sync at the perfect moment."

This weekend Dixon and Bender will attempt to defend that 2000 race win. The NHRA is returning to Richmond for the first time since that season. The Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals kicks off Friday with two qualifying sessions. The race, originally scheduled for last weekend, was postponed due to persistent rain.

"Hopefully we got a full couple of days for qualifying before we get into eliminations," Dixon said. "We had an awful lot of fans at the race last weekend, even when it was pouring down rain. They were excited to see us race and it would be nice to actually be able to do that for them. We already had our pre-race party with Ron and Marcy McGuigan from Kozak Beverages, so now it's time to race."

Dixon -- a 38-time NHRA event winner behind the wheel of the Don Prudhomme-owned dragster -- earned his first career No. 1 qualifying award in Richmond during his rookie season in 1995. He also has a runner-up finish there from 1999.

-credit: snake racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Dick LaHaie