Sonoma: Larry Dixon preview

The Dixon Dispatch The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster Larry Dixon Returns To Sonoma Aiming For First Win At Sears Point Raceway & Chance To Take Lead In Top Fuel Points Race SONOMA, CALIF. (July 30) - Before Crew...

The Dixon Dispatch
The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster

Larry Dixon Returns To Sonoma Aiming For First Win At Sears Point Raceway & Chance To Take Lead In Top Fuel Points Race

SONOMA, CALIF. (July 30) - Before Crew Chief Dick LaHaie joined Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team, driver Larry Dixon's best result at Sears Point Raceway was a first round finish- a mark he duplicated in each of his five previous trips to the track.

Last season changed all that as not only did Dixon win his first career elimination round at Sears Point, he went on to reach his fifth final of the season and collected valuable points at a West Coast swing race, which in the past had eluded him.

Not only did LaHaie turn Dixon's West Coast fortunes around, but he was the catalyst that sent Dixon to a career-best third place finish in the 2000 Winston Top Fuel point standings, equaling his 1995 Rookie of the Year campaign when he also finished third in the points race.

This season has been even brighter for Dixon and the Miller Lite Team as he enters this weekend's race second in the points hunt and only 14 points (less that one round of racing) behind points leader Kenny Bernstein. Dixon has reached five final rounds and taken home the hardware on three occasions (Gainesville, Columbus, Denver) this year. It is the consistency of LaHaie that has seen the Miller Lite Dragster qualify among the top three cars at 12 of the first 15 races this season, as well as reach the semifinal round 12 times on raceday.

In spite of Dixon's disappointing runner-up finish last year, he brings great momentum into this weekend's 14th Annual Fram Autolite Nationals (Aug. 3-5) and is not letting memories of the past dissuade him.

"Last year has no real effect on what is going on this season," said Dixon. "I am a different driver and we have a different car than last year. We are going into this weekend's race with a better driver, a better team and a better car. I really don't think last year has any bearing on what to expect this weekend. It doesn't get us any kind of provisional starting spot or anything, we have to go in and earn everything we can get and that's what we are going to try to do.

"Everybody wishes they can put together a string of three straight wins on our tour, but there is such a strong field of cars in Top Fuel. We just have to do like they do over in Winston Cup (NASCAR) and think that if we can't win a race, we at least need a Top 5 finish to keep pace in the points race for the championship." <pre> Larry Dixon's Career Results in Sonoma

Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Autolite Nationals No. 9 First round- M. Dunn 1996 Autolite Nationals No. 12 First round-S. Anderson 1997 Autolite Nationals No. 13 First round-S. Kalitta 1998 Autolite Nationals No. 7 First round-D. Grubnic 1999 Autolite Nationals No. 14 First round-G. Scelzi 2000 Autolite Nationals No. 5 Runner up-D. Kalitta

2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Kenny Bernstein 1252 n/a 2. LARRY DIXON 1238 14 out 3. Doug Kalitta 1042 210 out 4. Gary Scelzi 1041 211 out 5. Mike Dunn 990 262 out 6. Darrell Russell 965 287 out 7. Doug Herbert 806 446 out 8. Tony Schumacher 777 475 out 9. David Grubnic 611 641 out 10. Rhonda Hartman 536 716 out

Larry Dixon Appearance & Racing Schedule Below is the tentative schedule for Larry Dixon for this weekend's Fram Autolite Nationals.

Date Time Location Wed, 8/1 Noon-2p NHRA Media Luncheon Thur, 8/2 500-700p KSJO/Hard Rock Café Fan Fest, 1699 Van Ness, (415) 885-1699 Fri, 8/3 400-700p Qualifying sessions #1 & #2 Sat, 8/4 200-500p Qualifying sessions #3 & #4 Sun, 8/5 1100a Eliminations begin

NHRA on Television This Weekend Date & Time (ET) Network Coverage Aug. 4, 1000p-1200a ESPN 2 Qualifying Aug. 5, 4-6p & 11p-M ESPN 2 Eliminations

- www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Dick LaHaie