Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon and Don Prudhomme¿s Miller Lite Top Fuel team have played the right cards at NHRA¿s spring event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the past few seasons, collecting the weekend¿s biggest prize¿the NHRA ¿Wally¿ trophy and valuable POWERade points.


      The three-time winner at The Strip hopes to break the bank yet again when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes the first of two visits to Las Vegas, April 1-4, for the fifth annual NHRA Summitracing.com Nationals.


      ¿I¿m excited about going back to Las Vegas,¿ said Dixon, a 33-time NHRA winner who set the Top Fuel speed record at 332.75 mph at The Strip last April. ¿We¿ve had good success at The Strip in the past. We¿re the defending event champion going into the race and I¿m really excited with the way the Miller Lite dragster is running. The car keeps going quicker and faster and I don¿t expect it to slow down.¿


      Despite entering the spring Las Vegas event in ninth place in the Top Fuel points standings, Dixon¿s Dick LaHaie-tuned Miller-backed rail demonstrated the kind of performance that helped Dixon race to two consecutive NHRA championships at the recently completed Gainesville, Fla. event, as the Indianapolis resident qualified a season-best fifth and recorded the second quickest elapsed time of the race.


      ¿I think Snake said it best that if you give Dick LaHaie the same equipment that everyone else is using, he¿ll find a way to go quicker and faster than most,¿ Dixon said. ¿With all new pieces that are on this race car and to be up to speed as quickly as we are shows how talented of an individual LaHaie really is.¿


      Following a second-round finish at the first event of the season in Pomona, Calif., LaHaie decided to make the change to the popular setback supercharger that was being used by all of the top teams, along with continuing to develop the six-disc clutch program. In just two races, the Miller Lite car clocked the second- quickest and fastest times of the Gainesville race (4.598 seconds at 316.01 mph).


      ¿I figured it would come around quickly,¿ LaHaie said. ¿It doesn¿t surprise me. When you have good equipment and the talented guys that we¿ve got on this team, there¿s no reason the performance shouldn¿t be there.¿


      The combination of Prudhomme¿s leadership skills, Dixon¿s championship driving experience and LaHaie¿s tuning prowess, should see the Miller Lite dragster as one of the odds-on favorites to visit the winner¿s circle at The Strip come Sunday afternoon.


Larry Dixon¿s Career Results at The Strip at LVMS (spring event)


Year  Qualified   Finish & Winning Driver

2000  No. 6       Second round¿Cory McClenathan

2001  No. 9       Second round¿Kenny Bernstein

2002  No. 1       WINNER¿def. Cory McClenathan

2003  No. 1       WINNER¿def. Doug Kalitta