NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite Snake Racing Dragster's pass of 4.624 seconds (318.39 mph) recorded on Friday held to be their best and earned the No. 6 position for Sunday's elimination round at the Fifth Annual Chicagoland Dodge Dealers Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. Dixon came into the final day of qualifying as the No. 6 qualifier and looked to improve on the Top Fuel ladder. With track temperatures exceeding 120 degrees during the first session, the combination of heat and some minor engine difficulties slowed the Miller Lite/Raybestos car to a pass of 11.449 seconds (79.18 mph). Crew Chief Dick LaHaie took his car back to the pit, surveyed the difficulties and made the most of the final qualifying session as Dixon posted low elapsed time of the round with a run of 4.762 seconds (305.56 mph). Also adding to LaHaie's concerns was the implementation of the new Goodyear tire which all nitro classes began using this weekend. The first two days of qualifying gave LaHaie his first chance to evaluate their performance. "On this new tire thing, I don't see any difference so far," said LaHaie. "For the last six runs, our car's engine has had something wrong with it. It's been down on power and we couldn't find it. Well, we woke it up this morning and found out what was wrong, so that was a whole different thing because we have been tuning around an engine that wasn't real powerful. So, I really can't say anything about the tire. It's not any worse and I don't think it is any better. Until we can go out and run on eight cylinders and come back and evaluate things, I can't say one way or the other." One thing LaHaie could comment on fully was his 4.76-second lap that was low among Top Fuel cars for the afternoon session. "That run actually gave us some pretty good data," said LaHaie. "It ran on seven cylinders for most of the run and it still ran pretty decent. We probably could have run a middle-4.60 out there and that would have been a real good run. We are pretty optimistic about tomorrow. If it is hot like this, we'll go race with it." Dixon's first round opponent will be No. 11 qualifier Yuichi Oyama in the first career meeting between the two drivers. Sunday's elimination round is scheduled for an 11 AM CT start.
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