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2013 NHRA: Dixon, Rapisarda Autosport Int'l Continue Learning Process With New Equipment at NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Posted by: newsla on Jul 02, 2013 - 06:36 AM
2013 NHRA: Dixon, Rapisarda Autosport Int'l Continue Learning Process With New Equipment at NHRA Route 66 Nationals

Larry Dixon had some concerns with the all night qualifying runs at the Route 66 Raceway this past weekend.


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The three-time NHRA Route 66 Nationals Top Fuel champion felt the great night conditions might make for a tricky track during Sunday’s final eliminations in the daytime. And Dixon’s concerns held true for his Rapisarda Top Fuel team.

After many spectacular qualifying performances on Friday and Saturday evening at the Chicagoland area drag racing facility, the daytime eliminations did not have similar track conditions, and the many of the fuel crew chiefs had to use their experience to find the proper setups in the heat of the day.

“We always felt the night qualifying runs at Chicago made it very difficult for the Sunday setup,” said Dixon after his first round lost to Doug Kalitta. “The track and the air were so good on Friday and Saturday evenings that cars were making some outstanding passes. But then comes Sunday, you are in the middle of the day and the heat climbs for the track temperatures. So it makes for very tricky track conditions. We just overpowered the track on Sunday.”

Track records fell often in qualifying with Morgan Lucas posting an impressive 3.73-second run in Top Fuel and four Funny Car drivers breaking the four-second barrier at Route 66 Raceway.

But Sunday’s eliminations were a different story with clutch setups needing to be adjusted.

“We smoked the tires against Doug in the first round and it is a learning process for the Rapisarda team right now,” said Dixon. “Doug ran the quickest time (3.786 seconds) of the first round and we knew we would have to hop up the setup to stay with him. With the new cylinder heats and equipment, we just need more runs right now. We are trying to find the right knobs to turn to run with the contenders.”

In qualifying, Dixon was an early pace setter with a 3.832 second run at 317.87 miles per hour, but the cooler conditions dropped the Rapisarda machine to 9th at the end of Friday runs.

“Due to the rain Friday evening, everyone just got the single qualifying run,” explained Dixon. “We really could have used that second pass that night. So we ran a good solid lap and some of the other guys knew the conditions were really good and went for a strong pass. “

On Saturday night, conditions might have been even better late in the evening, but Dixon’s mount lost a blower belt on the pass and couldn’t improve his Friday clocking. Larry and his squad settled for 12th best in the 16-car starting field.

“I felt the car was on the good pass but we got some tough luck on that Saturday night run,” he said. “We didn’t have the time in qualifying that we had hoped. The team is working very hard to get the power to the ground with the new equipment and I think we can get better when we travel to Norwalk, (OH) this weekend.”

Dixon and the Rapisarda team begin qualifying runs this Friday for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at 5:30 p.m. EDT at Summit Motorsports Raceway with a second session at 8:00 p.m. Saturday’s time trials are set for 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. with final eliminations scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.

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