KENT, WA (July 27) Having already won twice this season on tracks he had previously been unable to tame, Larry Dixon began his march toward a first career Top Fuel title at Seattle International Raceway as he has put the Don Prudhomme Racing...
KENT, WA (July 27) Having already won twice this season on tracks he had previously been unable to tame, Larry Dixon began his march toward a first career Top Fuel title at Seattle International Raceway as he has put the Don Prudhomme Racing Miller Lite Dragster in the No. 2 spot after the first day of qualifying Friday at the Prolong Northwest Nationals.
With extensive work being done to both lanes at S.I.R. since the NHRA's last trip to the Emerald City, many drivers were uncertain as to how their 6,000 horsepower rides would fair on the new racing surface. The Miller Lite Team's questions were answered early as Dixon hopped behind the wheel and motored down the left lane to a lap of 4.650 seconds at 309.27 mph to qualify No. 3 after the first session.
Solidly in the field after their first run, Dixon and the Miller Lite Team put the new track surface to the test and threw down some big numbers in the evening session. Crew Chief Dick LaHaie dialed Dixon in to a pass of 4.557 seconds at 317.12 mph, which established a new track E.T. record and sat as the low qualifying run of the night, but those honors would last for only for a short time. With just one more pair of Top Fuel dragsters to go down the track after Dixon's great run, Gary Scelzi took over the low qualifier position and track record with his lap of 4.512 seconds at 316.97 mph.
"The weather here is really cool and that's making for some great conditions," said Dixon. "It's not like Chicago because it doesn't have an all concrete track, but we have seen the track E.T. record improve from a 4.59 to a 4.51. On our first run, Dicko set it up kinda soft to make sure we would get down the racetrack and the .65 is about what he thought we would run. In the late session Dick was looking for a 4.57, but the track was better than we thought it would be and we wound uprunning better than that (4.557). We are just off a bit from the top speed and just off from the e.t., but anytime you can pick up a tenth of a second from one session to another you have to be pleased."
"The way I look at it, we have two more sessions and I think we will see some guys improve on the numbers today," said Dixon. "The track was ground just before we got here and it didn't have any rubber on it. As we make more runs, more rubber will build up and we should get some more bite. If the temperature drops like the local weathermen say it will, then we should see the e.t.s and speeds pick up."
Dixon's career best finish at S.I.R. has been a pair of semifinal finishes coming in 1997 and again last year with Gary Scelzi ending his race weekends both times. The Miller Lite Driver sits second in the points race, just three points behind leader Kenny Bernstein. Dixon has reached five final rounds this season, including wins at Gainesville, FL, Columbus, Ohio, and Denver.
Two qualifying sessions remain on Saturday and are scheduled for 1:30 and 4:30 PM PT. Qualifying rounds will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday from 7:00-8:00 PM ET with additional coverage from 10:00 PM Midnight ET. Elimination rounds will air Sunday from 6:00-8:00:00 PM ET.