Larry Dixon takes Top Fuel qualifying lead at Gateway

MADISON, Ill. (AP) Larry Dixon took the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday in the NHRA Midwestern Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Dixon had a 3.756-second run at a track-record 328.06 mph. The three-time season champion has five runner-up finishes this year and is third in the points standings.

''It was the best run of the day, so great job by Mike Guger and the team,'' Dixon said. ''I've lost championships by two points before, so I'll take three today. It's kind of funny, not funny, but this is the first time I've ever been in this press room. I had to ask for directions to get here. I love racing here but don't have any hardware or No. 1 qualifiers. This is the first time I've been here in three years, so I'm grateful to be here wearing a firesuit.''

Jack Beckman topped the Funny Car field, Greg Anderson was the fastest in Pro Stock, and Jerry Savoie led in Pro Stock Motorcycle in the second of six events in the Countdown to the Championship.

Beckman had a 3.946 at 323.43 in a Dodge Charger R/T. He has a category-best six victories this season and is third in standings.

Anderson, a four-time season champion, ran a 6.492 at 213.20 in a Chevrolet Camaro. He has four victories this year and is second in the standings.

Savoie had a 6.832 at 196.50 on a Suzuki. The defending Gateway champion has two victories this year and is third in the standings.

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