Friday, April 4, 2003



Dixon sets new NHRA Top Fuel Dragster national speed record at The Strip;

Five records set on first day of NHRA Nationals qualifying



            Larry Dixon, driver of the Miller Lite Top Fuel Dragster, set a new NHRA national speed record of 332.75 mph during the evening qualifying session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Generally, national records are reserved for tracks at or near sea level.  Las Vegas' 2,100-ft. altitude is not conducive to record-setting runs, since "thin air" usually fails to create the necessary horsepower.  The Indianapolis native and his crew defied science and lit up the cool, windy night with a record pass that, in his own estimation, may not last long since a total of five professional category records were set during two rounds of qualifying.

"Dick LaHaie (crew chief) and the team have been working on the car's air and fuel (systems) and it seemed to respond," said Dixon, who drives for drag racing legend Don "The Snake" Prudhomme.  "We could have run even faster, but a cylinder went out at 4 sec., and they only clock that last 60 feet.  Speed is so hard to set.  This is the first (national) speed record for us.  We may not walk out of here with the speed record, but somebody will.

"The track is smooth and it's got base to it.  With the cool air and the track being tight, you could see the E.T. (elapsed time) record fall.  And with this altitude, that says a lot for the track."

Doug Kalitta, driving the Las Vegas-only Kid Rock Top Fuel Dragster, set a track E.T. record of 4.499 sec. and currently is the No. 1 Qualifier in a field of 17 cars.

Greg Anderson, of Concord, N.C., broke both ends of The Strip's NHRA Pro Stock record, with a pass of 6.880 sec. at 201.28 mph.  Local favorite George Marnell currently sits 19th and will have two more opportunities tomorrow to qualify for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of the 2003 season.

In the Funny Car ranks, Gary Densham broke Whit Bazemore's stranglehold on The Strip's speed record with a run of 326.56 mph.  Bazemore is today's No. 1 Qualifier in the Funny Car class at 4.788 sec.

Pro category qualifying concludes Saturday with two sessions, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.



1. Doug Kalitta 4.499 sec.*/332.10 mph

2. David Baca 4.528 sec./320.36 mph

3. Larry Dixon 4.537 sec./332.75 mph**

4. Brandon Bernstein 4.557 sec./325.77 mph

5. Tony Schumacher 4.604 sec./304.53 mph

6. Darrell Russell 4.614 sec./319.29 mph

7. Doug Herbert 4.622 sec./284.62 mph

8. John Smith 4.643 sec./307.37 mph

9. Rhonda Hartman-Smith 4.648 sec./323.66 mph

10. David Grubnic 4.678 sec./303.50 mph

11. Paul Romine 4.686 sec./315.78 mph

12. Melanie Troxel 4.703 sec./257.73 mph

13. Steven Chrisman 5.344 sec./239.57 mph

14. Jim Head 6.141 sec./142.18 mph

15. Scott Weis 7.912 sec./108.32 mph

16. Mike Strasburg 8.813 sec./91.05 mph

Not yet qualified: Cory McClenathan.



1. Whit Bazemore 4.788 sec./323.43 mph

2. Del Worsham 4.811 sec./318.24 mph

3. Johnny Gray 4.824 sec./321.12 mph

4. Tommy Johnson Jr. 4.850 sec./298.40 mph

5. Tony Pedregon 4.852 sec./313.15 mph

6. Scotty Cannon 4.859 sec./321.73 mph

7. Dean Skuza 4.866 sec./289.94 mph

8. Ron Capps 4.871 sec./319.29 mph

9. Bob Gilbertson 4.895 sec./307.44 mph

10. John Force 4.919 sec./312.93 mph

11. Gary Densham 4.961 sec./326.56 mph*

12. Phil Burkhart Jr. 5.082 sec./278.17 mph

13. Dale Creasy Jr. 5.101 sec./299.06 mph

14. Keith Jackson 5.204 sec./275.17 mph

15. Gary Scelzi 5.246 sec./184.72 mph

16. Tim Wilkerson 5.278 sec./213.98 mph

Not yet qualified: Frank Pedregon, Bob Bode, Cruz Pedregon, Jack Wyatt, Terry Haddock.



1. Greg Anderson 6.880 sec.*/201.28 mph*

2. Kurt Johnson 6.883 sec./200.74 mph

3. Warren Johnson 6.900 sec./200.00 mph

4. Scott Geoffrion 6.903 sec./200.50 mph

5. Mark Whisnant 6.909 sec./198.38 mph

6. V. Gaines 6.911 sec./199.05 mph

7. Allen Johnson 6.916 sec./200.86 mph

8. Mike Edwards 6.916 sec./199.40 mph

9. Taylor Lastor III 6.918 sec./199.76 mph

10. Ron Krisher 6.918 sec./199.23 mph

11. Terry Adams 6.923 sec./199.52 mph

12. Bruce Allen 6.931 sec./199.26 mph

13. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 6.934 sec./199.46 mph

14. Troy Coughlin 6.934 sec./199.23 mph

15. Jim Yates 6.935 sec./198.90 mph

16. Greg Stanfield 6.936 sec./199.32 mph

Not yet qualified: Darrell Alderman, Mike Thomas, George Marnell, Barry Grant, Kenny Koretsky, Gene Wilson, J.R. Carr, Mark Pawuk, Ben Watson, Jose Maldonado, Arturo Delgado, Jerry Haas, Larry Morgan, Gordie Rivera Jr., Fernando Cuadra.


*Track record

**NHRA national record