Dixon cards quarterfinal finish
Sonoma, Sunday: Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon drove his Miller Lite dragster to a quarterfinal finish Sunday at Infineon Raceway during the 19th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals.
After qualifying his Don “the Snake” Prudhomme-owned dragster in the No. 15 position, the 38-time NHRA winner bested rival Brandon Bernstein in the opening round before bowing out to rookie racing starlet Hillary Will in round two.
Facing off against the rival beer car for the fourth time this season, Dixon used a slight starting line advantage with a .076 of-a-second reaction time to race to the early lead. Both dragsters loss traction down track, but the two-time NHRA champion pedaled the throttle and recovered to clock a pass of 4.994 seconds at 293.98 mph en route to the round win. Bernstein, the No. 2 qualifier, slowed to a run of 6.717 at 123.50.
“We’ve lost to them a few times this year,” Dixon said. “You know the odds will come to you eventually. I actually thought we’d outrun them, but both cars pulled the tires loose and we were able to beat them on a tire-smoker.
“I don’t have too many races left to beat the Bud car in Miller colors. So, anytime we can score one for Milwaukee, it feels nice.”
In the second round, Dixon again used an impressive reaction time, .063 of-a-second, to race to the early lead, but the Miller Lite/Lucas Oil-backed rail shook the tires and slowed to a run of 4.959 at 268.49, while Will powered to a pass of 4.725-seconds to advance to the semifinals at the Sonoma track.
“We’re working on fixing the tire-shake issues,” Dixon said. “I think we’re getting better. We worked in a different area this weekend and it responded. There are a million knobs to turn on these cars and we turned the wrong one that round. In a race like that, you pedal the car and hope your competitor stumbles, but she (Will) didn’t.”
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