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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

Dixon, Pedregon, and Johnson
Earn Season Opening Wins

By NHRA Communications

POMONA, Calif. - Larry Dixon started the 2003 season the same way he started his championship season of 2002 - in winner's circle. Dixon took the Top Fuel victory over Cory McClenathan Sunday at the K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.

Tony Pedregon and Warren Johnson also won their respective categories at the $2 million race, the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Dixon turned in a 4.541-second run at 322.04 seconds in the Miller Lite dragster to beat McClenathan's 4.547 at 309.42 in the NY Yankees/Berryman dragster. 

Dixon made event history by becoming the first Top Fuel driver to repeat as a winner at the Winternationals. He won the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday, earning a $100,000 for the bonus race. He will receive an additional $50,000 on top of his race win earnings for winning both events during the same weekend. 

"This is huge," Dixon said. "I thought about the voodoo at this track. More than 40 years of racing and no repeat winners at the Winternationals? This is a perfect way to start the season. I appreciate so much just how good this car is running. When you get a car like that, you love it."

Dixon has 26 wins in 48 career final round appearances. He is fourth on the all-time Top Fuel list, just behind McClenathan's 27 career victories. 

"About a year and a half ago (team owner Don) Prudhomme told me to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves and try to run with them," Dixon said. "Right now we're on such a great run and the chemistry of the team and amongst the guys is just right. We're all just trying to go along for the ride."

Pedregon earned his 20th career victory in 41 final round appearances by beating Johnny Gray in the Funny Car final. Pedregon went 4.765 at 324.44 in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to take the win over Gray's 4.912 at 313.66 in his Checker Schuck's Kragen Pontiac Firebird.

"We learned a lot from last year and we came into this year with higher expectations," Pedregon said. "You look at the way the car performed and that really tells the story. We struggled early and came into the last day of qualifying outside the field of 16. Then we go out and run a 4.7-second pass like it was nothing. That just goes to show you what kind of horsepower these cars make.

"I felt like we had a better than good chance to win every round today. That's a good feeling to have."

Pedregon just came up short in the bid for his first Funny Car championship in 2002, losing to his boss and teammate - John Force - in the final race of the season. With the win, Pedregon became the Funny Car points leader for only the second time in his 11-year career.

For the first time since 1994, Force sits outside the top 10 of the point standings.

"I guess I could've earned a little more points over John (Force) if he hadn't qualified but it's not just him we're racing this year. I know with the way last season ended that people want to talk about that but you know they'll be there all year. So will (Gary) Scelzi, Whit (Bazemore), the CSK (Del Worsham, Johnny Gray) guys, lot of teams out there can win races. We were just the lucky ones to do it today."

Warren Johnson came one step closer to another career milestone with his 89th career victory in Pro Stock. Johnson went 6.788 at 204.01 in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am to beat Allen Johnson's 6.802 at 204.73 in Mopar Parts Dodge Neon. Warren Johnson also set the national speed record with a run of 204.91 in the first round of eliminations.

"There is no such thing as a bad win or a good loss," Warren Johnson said. "Certainly this is good for the team to get a win early in the season. It shows that all the work we did during the winter can pay immediate dividends."

While Johnson may be looking to add to his six Pro Stock championships, earning win No. 90 is not a priority. Only Force (106) has more national event victories.

"Records will always be broken," he said. "If someone has the longevity in a career that I have had, they will be able to produce the kind of records we have. All that matters is that I have enjoyed the results."

The next NHRA POWERade national event is the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Feb. 20-23. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Final finish order (1-16) for professional categories at the 43rd annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The race is the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.


1. Larry Dixon; 2. Cory McClenathan; 3. Melanie Troxel; 4. Clay Millican; 5. Clay Millican; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. David Grubnic; 8. John Smith; 9. Brandon Bernstein; 10. Darrell Russell; 11. Doug Kalitta; 12. Paul Romine; 13. Rhonda Hartman-Smith; 14. David Baca; 15. Robert Reehl; 16. Jim Head. 


1. Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang; 2. Johnny Gray, Pontiac Firebird; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Camaro; 4. Ron Capps, Camaro; 5. Del Worsham, Firebird; 6. Bob Gilbertson, Firebird; 7. Whit Bazemore, Dodge Stratus; 8. Tim Wilkerson, Firebird; 9. Gary Densham, Mustang; 10. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird; 11. Scotty Cannon, Firebird; 12. John Force, Mustang; 13. Gary Scelzi, Stratus; 14. Frank Pedregon, Firebird; 15. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica; 16. Dean Skuza, Firebird. 


1. Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am; 2. Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon R/T; 3. Darrell Alderman, Neon R/T; 4. Greg Anderson, Grand Am; 5. Ron Krisher, Chevy Cavalier; 6. Kurt Johnson, Cavalier; 7. Randy Daniels, Grand Am; 8. Brad Jeter, Cavalier; 9. Bruce Allen, Grand Am; 10. Greg Stanfield, Neon R/T; 11. Mark Osborne, Grand Am; 12. Steve Johns, Cavalier; 13. V. Gaines, Cavalier; 14. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am; 15. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier; 16. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Sunday's final results from the 43rd annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. The race is the first of 23 in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series: 

Top Fuel -- Top Fuel -- Larry Dixon, 4.541 seconds, 322.04 mph def. Cory McClenathan, 4.597 seconds, 309.42 mph. 

Funny Car -- Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.765, 324.44 def. Johnny Gray, Pontiac Firebird, 4.912, 313.66. 

Pro Stock -- Warren Johnson, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.788, 204.01 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.802, 204.73. 

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Tony Bartone, 5.262, 266.74 def. Morgan Lucas, 5.292, 273.05. 

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.628, 255.43 def. Cy Chesterman, Pontiac Trans Am, 6.687, 146.32. 

Competition Eliminator -- Randy Jones, Chevy Cavalier, 9.283, 115.42 def. Brandon Huhtala, Oldsmobile Cutlass, foul. 

Super Stock -- Jeff Lane, Pontiac Grand Am, 9.064, 125.53 def. Fred Moreno, Ford Mustang, 10.282, 128.75. 

Stock Eliminator -- Mike Loge, Plymouth Volare, 11.908, 108.80 def. Curtis Coulter, Mercury Cyclone, foul. 

Super Comp -- Jack Beckman, Dragster, 8.914, 166.39 def. Geoff Hughes, Dragster, 8.895, 165.42. 

Super Gas -- Brad Pierce, Chevy Corvette, 9.874, 139.11 def. Ed Olpin, Roadster, 9.863, 145.70. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Final round-by-round results from the 43rd annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series - 


ROUND ONE -- John Smith, 4.630, 303.09 def. Paul Romine, foul; Doug Herbert, 4.588, 318.69 def. David Baca, 10.483, 90.57; Tony Schumacher, 4.634, 313.44 def. Rhonda Hartman-Smith, 6.555, 124.42; David Grubnic, 5.728, 148.46 def. Darrell Russell, foul; Cory McClenathan, 4.590, 324.20 def. Brandon Bernstein, 4.714, 296.05; Clay Millican, 4.647, 307.65 def. Jim Head, 17.485, 35.21; Larry Dixon, 4.535, 327.19 def. Robert Reehl, 13.627, 99.14; Melanie Troxel, 4.759, 307.09 def. Doug Kalitta, 6.149, 128.01; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Troxel, 4.834, 298.34 def. Smith, 4.785, 303.43; McClenathan, 4.594, 324.20 def. Grubnic, 4.711, 311.92; Millican, 4.567, 328.62 def. Herbert, 13.030, 55.87; Dixon, 4.533, 325.61 def. Schumacher, 4.625, 315.64; 

SEMIFINALS -- McClenathan, 4.682, 295.98 def. Troxel, 5.088, 230.29; Dixon, 4.514, 326.00 def. Millican, 7.358, 112.58; 

FINAL -- Dixon, 4.541, 322.04 def. McClenathan, 4.597, 309.42. 


ROUND ONE -- Del Worsham, Pontiac Firebird, 4.846, 315.93 def. Cruz Pedregon, Firebird, 4.905, 317.87; Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang, 4.739, 324.51 def. Dean Skuza, Firebird, 9.553, 89.70; Tim Wilkerson, Firebird, 4.857, 317.57 def. Frank Pedregon, Firebird, 5.888, 163.49; Whit Bazemore, Dodge Stratus, 4.802, 320.43 def. Scotty Cannon, Firebird, 4.936, 267.48; Bob Gilbertson, Firebird, 5.716, 172.23 def. Gary Densham, Mustang, foul; Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro, 5.020, 287.47 def. Gary Scelzi, Stratus, 4.998, 316.97; Tommy Johnson Jr., Camaro, 4.869, 318.84 def. John Force, Mustang, 4.984, 310.34; Johnny Gray, Firebird, 4.954, 311.85 def. Bruce Sarver, Toyota Celica, 6.577, 131.25; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Gray, 5.093, 294.05 def. Wilkerson, 13.118, 71.99; Johnson Jr., 4.829, 313.37 def. Bazemore, 10.489, 86.68; T. Pedregon, 4.788, 321.65 def. Worsham, 4.842, 316.60; Capps, 4.887, 316.52 def. Gilbertson, 5.239, 249.81; 

SEMIFINALS -- Gray, 4.897, 314.24 def. Capps, 4.897, 306.74; T. Pedregon, 4.785, 323.50 def. Johnson Jr., 4.889, 304.12; 

FINAL -- T. Pedregon, 4.765, 324.44 def. Gray, 4.912, 313.66. 


ROUND ONE -- Greg Anderson, Pontiac Grand Am, 6.801, 203.40 def. Mark Pawuk, Grand Am, foul; Kurt Johnson, Chevy Cavalier, 6.783, 204.57 def. Mark Osborne, Grand Am, 6.805, 202.55; Ron Krisher, Cavalier, 6.770, 203.03 def. Bruce Allen, Grand Am, 6.778, 203.31; Allen Johnson, Dodge Neon R/T, 6.782, 204.42 def. V. Gaines, Cavalier, 6.811, 203.34; Randy Daniels, Grand Am, 6.818, 202.00 def. Jeg Coughlin, Cavalier, 6.900, 202.48; Brad Jeter, Cavalier, 6.830, 203.16 def. Greg Stanfield, Neon R/T, foul; Warren Johnson, Grand Am, 6.767, 204.91 def. Troy Coughlin, Cavalier, 7.159, 178.59; Darrell Alderman, Neon R/T, 6.801, 203.28 def. Steve Johns, Cavalier, 6.806, 204.70; 

QUARTERFINALS -- Anderson, 6.802, 203.16 def. Jeter, 6.860, 202.33; A. Johnson, 6.794, 204.45 def. Daniels, 6.847, 201.46; Alderman, 6.804, 203.31 def. Krisher, foul; W. Johnson, 6.780, 204.39 def. K. Johnson, 6.812, 204.01; 

SEMIFINALS -- A. Johnson, 6.786, 204.76 def. Anderson, foul; W. Johnson, 6.764, 204.54 def. Alderman, 6.809, 203.52; 

FINAL -- W. Johnson, 6.788, 204.01 def. A. Johnson, 6.802, 204.73. 

POMONA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 43rd annual K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, the first of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series - 

Top Fuel

1. Larry Dixon, 116; 2. Cory McClenathan, 91; 3. Clay Millican, 77; 4. Melanie Troxel, 71; 5. Tony Schumacher, 54; 6. (tie) Doug Herbert, 53; John Smith, 53; 8. David Grubnic, 52; 9. Doug Kalitta, 38; 10. Brandon Bernstein, 35.

Funny Car

1. Tony Pedregon, 116; 2. Johnny Gray, 93; 3. (tie) Ron Capps, 72; Tommy Johnson Jr., 72; 5. Tim Wilkerson, 58; 6. Whit Bazemore, 57; 7. Del Worsham, 54; 8. Bob Gilbertson, 51; 9. Gary Densham, 35; 10. Gary Scelzi, 34.

Pro Stock

1. Warren Johnson, 117; 2. Allen Johnson, 94; 3. Darrell Alderman, 76; 4. Greg Anderson, 72; 5. Ron Krisher, 54; 6. Kurt Johnson, 52; 7. (tie) Randy Daniels, 51; Brad Jeter, 51; 9. Greg Stanfield, 38; 10. Jeg Coughlin, 35.

NHRA Communications


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