Dixon And Miller Lite Crew Aim to Wrap Up Western Swing With Solid Performance at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2004) -- The Western Swing is the most grueling portion of the 23-race NHRA schedule. Three races, 5,500 miles in...
Dixon And Miller Lite Crew Aim to Wrap Up Western Swing With Solid Performance at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (July 27, 2004) -- The Western Swing is the most grueling portion of the 23-race NHRA schedule. Three races, 5,500 miles in three weeks under the scorching summer temperatures. Last season, Larry Dixon added to his list of career accomplishments becoming just the fourth driver in NHRA history to win all three races of the rigorous Western Swing after powering his Miller Lite dragster to the win at Infineon Raceway.
"I think the Western Swing is like the Tour de France," Dixon said. "You've got a bunch of circuits and one setup doesn't work for all three races. You have a different race setup for each race, and you've got to travel a lot of miles. It's a lot of work on the teams and to be able to accomplish that when only a few drivers have done it ranks pretty high up there with the other accomplishments we've had so far."
This season Dixon won't sweep the Western Swing, but the 34-time NHRA winner and his Miller Lite crew eye a repeat visit to the Infineon Raceway winner's circle when the NHRA POWERade Series makes its only visit to Northern California to complete the three week swing, July 30-Aug. 1, for the 17th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals.
"This swing is the toughest part of the schedule," Dixon said. "I don't think anybody should whine from a drivers standpoint because the crew guys have it tough. We've been doing this swing for a long time. The guys have to put a lot of hours in and drive all the transporters to the next race. It's the hardest part of the schedule and the greatest load on the pit crews."
Not only do the teams have to face challenging race conditions at each race on the swing under the warm summertime heat, but they had to deal with a new Goodyear tire at the Denver race and the 85-percent nitromethane rule at the Seattle event just one week later.
"It makes it difficult on the crew chiefs because they're trying to make the cars go quick and the rules that were brought in are to make the cars go slower," Dixon said. "There isn't any time to do any testing and it'll take a little bit of time to pick up speed. Each run we make gives us more information and soon all the cars will be back to running the normal E.T's and speeds."
Dixon's tuner Dick LaHaie, who tuned Dixon to consecutive NHRA Top Fuel championships (2002-03), has seemed to adapt to the current rules with little problem. If LaHaie and Dixon are on top of their game, the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster will be one of the odds-on favorites to score the win at Sonoma.