DIXON DRIVES MILLER LITE RAIL TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 31, 2005) & ...
DIXON DRIVES MILLER LITE RAIL TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 31, 2005) Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon raced his Miller Lite dragster to a track speed record (329.12 mph) en route to a semifinal finish Sunday at Infineon Raceway during the 18th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals.
After driving his Miller Lite/Ameriquest dragster to the No. 3 qualifying position with a 4.550-second elapsed time, Dixon defeated Scott Weis and Cory McClenathan before falling to Doug Kalitta in the semifinal round of eliminations.
The 37-time NHRA winner opened the day when he used a tune-up from crew chief Dick LaHaie to power the Miller-backed dragster to a performance of 4.560 seconds at 328.30 mph to knock off Weis, the No. 14 qualifier. Weis' rail lost traction on the run.
In one of the best races of the day, Dixon used a significant starting line advantage to score a wire-to-wire victory against McClenathan in the second round. Dixon's dragster blistered the Infineon Raceway quarter mile in 4.586, 329.12 to narrowly edge McClenathan's 4.589, 323.58 run. Dixon's 329.12-mph speed, bettered the 326.71-mph track speed record that he set during qualifying.
With the warm July sun beating down on the Sonoma race track, both Dixon and semifinal opponent D. Kalitta lost traction in their semifinal showdown. Dixon's Miller Lite/Lucas Oil rail lost traction early in the run and slowed to a pass of 7.876 at 119.58, while Kalitta's rail spun the tires down track, recording a pass of 5.154 at 269.24 to earn the round victory.
"We're still having a little trouble with our consistency run-to-run," Dixon said. "I can tell you, it's not from lack of effort from the Miller Lite guys. It's frustrating because we've gotten beat by a 6.07 and a 5.15 the past two weeks. When you're racing for the title, those are rounds that you have to win."
Dixon and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite team remain third in the NHRA Top Fuel standings. The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 24th annual Lucas Oil Nationals, August 11-14, at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minn. Dixon is a two-time winner of the Brainerd race (1999 and 2001).