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Apr 23, 2013 - 06:20 AM
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2013 NHRA: Dixon, Beard And Crew Post Team’s Best Run Ever In First Round
Posted by: newsla on Apr 23, 2013 - 06:18 AM
2013 NHRA: Dixon, Beard And Crew Post Team’s Best Run Ever In First Round At 4-Wide Nationals

Larry Dixon recorded the Rapisarda Autosport International drag racing team’s best run ever Sunday in the first round of eliminations for the NHRA Dollar General 4-Wide Nationals at the Z-Max Dragway.


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Dixon, the three-time NHRA Top Fuel Mello Yello Series champion, clocked the quickest time of the first round four-car Top Fuel matchup in the unique four-wide national event with a time of 3.794 seconds and a speed of 323.74 miles per hour. With the best time, Dixon then advanced to the semi-finals in the 16-car field.

The 3.794 reading marked the first time the Rapisarda team had broken 3.80 seconds in NHRA Mello Yello Series competition.

“It was a good performance for our crew at Charlotte,” said Dixon, who qualified 11th on Saturday. “Santo (Rapisarda, team owner) wanted the team to run in the 3.70s with the older equipment and they have been working hard to improve the car. We are getting the new cylinder heads now and we plan to put those parts into play at Houston and Atlanta.”

The addition of Dixon and veteran tuner Lee Beard have given the Australian-based Rapisarda contingent a new look in 2013 and the team plans to implement the new equipment in the next two NHRA Mello Yello Series national races the upcoming two weeks.

“We are still looking to improve the car with each run,” said Dixon. “Friday hurt us with the first two qualifying sessions being rained out. So, our backs were up against the wall on Saturday. We needed a good run to get in the show for Sunday. The pressure was on and unusual things can happen. There is a fine line from a good run and smoking the tires. Look at Clay Millican. He has been good recently but he missed the show at Charlotte.”

Back from a wild and record-setting trip to Australia three weeks ago, Dixon recorded a 3.851-second run in time trials and set up for Sunday’s first round action against Morgan Lucas, Dave Grubnic and Steve Torrence.

“The car felt very good with Lee’s setup and we ran a strong lap in the first round,” Dixon said. “That run helped the team’s confidence. We were still running with the older equipment too. In the semi-finals, we didn’t have the strong performance from the first round. But, with the new equipment, I think we’ll be able to run with the Top Fuel contenders.”

Dixon settled for a 3.889 at 315.12 in the semi-finals and failed to advance against the likes of Spencer Massey (the 4-Wide winner), Brandon Bernstein and Lucas.

“Santo challenged the team to run in the 3.70s with last year’s equipment and Lee, Santo Jr., Santino and the crew did that in round one,” said Dixon. “We missed a little in round two but I can see the progress with the team. We are excited to go to Houston this weekend and use the new equipment now. “

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