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Fri, 19 Sep 2008, 11:22 PM

Dixon Out to End Streak as Hight, Coughlin, Krawiec Low after Day 1 of Qualifying
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2008 Auto Imagery, Inc.

ENNIS, Texas --

Larry Dixon
Larry Dixon's up to bat with two strikes and a day to go.

At the past two events, Dixon's qualified No. 1 on the strength of his provisional nights of qualifying. And at the last two events, he didn't make it out of the second round on Sunday.

On Friday, Dixon yet again went low to claim the title of provisional No. 1 qualifier - meaning he has a leg-up on the rest of the field entering the final two rounds before race day Sunday at the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol. Now it's up to him and his U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Top Fuel dragster crew to break the streak.

"Too bad we don't run the races on Friday night; we've obviously got that part down," said Dixon, who drove to a 3.820-second pass at 310.70 mph. "That was a great run for us, and obviously (crew chief) Donnie (Bender) and Todd (Smith) are making the right calls on the tune-up. The next step would be to not smoke the tires on raceday."

Qualifying continues Saturday at Texas Motorplex at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Robert Hight
In Funny Car, two identical side-by-side passes dazzled the fans in a session that ultimately starred John Force Racing's Robert Hight. Hight hopes this weekend brings a replay of 2006, where he qualified No. 1 and won the event before failing to qualify at the track in an emotional 2007.

Hight piloted his Auto Club of Texas Ford Mustang to a best-of-the-day 4.063 at 301.81 in his first two attempts at his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 27th of his career.

"I couldn't have asked for a better day with two good runs, but even though it's a year later and everything is different, coming back here still brings back those bad memories, even though we did win here in 2006," Hight said. "We also won Indy that year, as we did this year, so maybe everything is lining up."

Jeg Coughlin
Jeg Coughlin is on the hunt for his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and the 14th of his career after posting a track record time and speed (6.631, 207.56) on Friday in his Chevy Cobalt.

"So far we've obviously had a great car to be No. 1," Coughlin said. "We've made two very good runs, very straight and uneventful from behind the wheel, and ran 6.63 on both of them. Fast and consistent is what we're after, and so far it looks like it's working out."

Eddie Krawiec
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec posted the best performance in the first and second rounds of qualifying, with both runs in the six-second range. He leads the category into Saturday's final two rounds with a 6.970 at 191.65 - also track records - on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. It would be Krawiec's third No. 1 qualifier of the season and the third of his career should his performance hang on through Saturday.

"That second session was a little screwy," Krawiec said. "A lot of people anticipate better air when it gets darker and cooler out, but if you monitored the weather station, you'd see that although the air was getting better a lot of the other things that really make it good air were coming up, counter-reacting on itself. It wasn't as good as everyone thought. I'm just going out there trying to make consistent laps, whether the No. 1 qualifier comes or not. Of course, we'd like to have those eight points. We'd like to carry forward the momentum from our Charlotte runner-up because it's a pretty good points battle right now."

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