NHRA POWERade 2002 defending champion Larry Dixon and the Miller Lite dragster will be in Joliet, IL for the Sixth Annual Lucas Oil Nationals May 29-June 1st. Although Dixon sports the number one plate on his Don Prudhomme Miller Lite Dragster, the team has their eyes on number two-two; consecutive weekend wins and a second consecutive win in Chicago. Coming off a win in Topeka Kansas, the crew is excited for Chicago and the history of success had at Route 66 Raceway. "I'm looking forward to going to Chicago, I enjoy the racetrack; we won there last year," said Dixon. "We have a lot of momentum going into that race. We've been to nine races, and six finals. If you're going to final rounds, and you're able to win a few of them, points wise it makes it hard for people to catch you." At 171 points ahead of the pack, it's hard indeed. Closest to Dixon with 670 points is the other red car, the Mac Tools dragster driven by Doug Kalitta. In three final round meetings already this year (W-Las Vegas, L-Englishtown, W-Topeka), Dixon has come to recognize the determining factor. "You really have to wait and see what the weather is like. It seems like when the cooler weather is there; Kalitta has a little bit better of a car. And when the weather is warmer, we have a little bit better of a car. From that standpoint, you have to see what the weather is going to be like. If it's hot, I like our chances. If it's cool, then we've got our work cut out for us." Not only has weather been a factor but according to Dixon, much of the team's winning momentum is a direct reflection of the crew. "I think we have a pretty focused group; everybody on our team, the same team as last year. It's just business, nobody is caught up in this or that, we won a championship last year, won a bunch of races last year," Dixon says with pride. "You try and go into every race doing the best you can and if you can go some late rounds, get to the finals, and win it, great. You get another win, get some points, and go to the next one." Although the points battle is a continued topic of interest, Dixon advises those to consider the unpredictability of it all. "You can't control anything. Everybody was talking about the beer wars, then Brandon gets hurt and now there aren't any beer wars. The same thing could've happened to me in Bristol. You don't know. You don't have any control over those types of situations. You just go out there and you try and race hard and if you go to all the races and do well, you should be able to be there at the end. If you do better than everybody else, than you end up the champion, and if you don't then you got work to do for next year. Try and keep it pretty basic, pretty simple." If simple is setting the NHRA national speed record at 332.75 mph, recorded earlier this year by Dixon in Las Vegas, then look for the Miller Lite dragster to redefine 29 career victories into 30 when visiting Chicago, IL for the Sixth Annual Lucas Oil Nationals (May 30th-June 1st). 2003 NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings 1. LARRY DIXON 841 - - - 2. Doug Kalitta 670 171 out 3. Brandon Bernstein 629 212 out 4. Darrell Russell 500 341 out 5. Doug Herbert 481 360 out 6. Cory McClenathan 475 366 out 7. David Baca 442 399 out 8. John Smith 430 411 out 9. Clay Millican 404 437 out 10. Tony Schumacher 367 474 out Larry Dixon's Career Results in Joliet Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1998 Fram Route 66 Nationals No.4 First round/Romine 1999 Fram Route 66 Nationals No.4 Second round/Dunn 2000 Fram Route 66 Nationals No.9 Runner up/Scelzi 2001 NHRA Fall Nationals No.3 Semifinals/K.Bernstein 2002 Craftsman 75th Anniv.Nat.No.2 Qtrfinals/C.McClenathan 2002 Chicagoland Dodge Nats. No.6 WINNER/Kenny Bernstein
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