Atlanta: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon enters the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals as the Top Fuel points leader. Dixon has won two of the last three races and leads second-place Cory McClenathan by 41 points. Doug Kalitta is in third place 86 points behind...

Larry Dixon enters the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals as the Top Fuel points leader. Dixon has won two of the last three races and leads second-place Cory McClenathan by 41 points. Doug Kalitta is in third place 86 points behind Dixon. Two weeks ago in St. Louis, Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier; he defeated Luigi Novelli and Morgan Lucas before losing to Tony Schumacher in the semifinals.

Dixon has advanced to at least the semifinals in five of the seven events so far this season. He has 51 wins in his career and three wins this season; he won the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas and the summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas.

Dixon has been an excellent qualifier this season having qualified in the top three at all seven races. Dixon's average qualifying position so far this year is 2.29. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier once this season and 41 times in his career.

Dixon is one of two drivers with three Top Fuel wins at Atlanta Dragway, more than any other drivers; he won races there in 1996, 2002 and '03. One year ago at Atlanta Dragway, Dixon was the No. 7 qualifier but lost to Cory McClenathan in the first round of eliminations.

Dixon won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 2002 and '03. He is currently third on the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel winner's list with 51 victories; Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 63 wins. Dixon is in eighth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; Joe Amato is in seventh place with 52 wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Atlanta Dragway:

"The consolation prize from St. Louis is that we did well in points; I'm disappointed because the Al-Anabi car was great all through qualifying and race day, and a mechanical glitch kept us from winning the semifinals and maybe the race. We had a great car on race day, but it's just one of those deals. Had it happened in the previous two rounds, we might have gotten by, but when you race one of the Top Fuel contenders, you better bring your A game, and we only had our A minus game that round.

"His Highness Sheik Khalid was in St. Louis, and we really wanted to win the race while he was in attendance. Fortunately for us, Von Smith covered for the rest of the Al-Anabi team with his Pro Mod win. Like I said, the consolation prize is that we picked up a couple of rounds in the points lead, and you never know when you might need that so those points will definitely help.

"Our consistency goes back to all the years Alan Johnson and Jason McCulloch have worked together. They had a certain combination they were very confident with, and it was just a matter of those guys having the time to adjust their setup to the new equipment we had last year. They didn't have to chase their tune-up, they just had to refine it, and our consistency made a big jump in the middle of last year. By the end of the season, the Al-Anabi car was great, and that's the car we started the season with this year. It's a lot more predictable than it was, and when you start making more full runs down the race track, you can start to finesse the setup to make it a little bit quicker and a little bit faster. I think that's what they've come up with."

-source: al-anabi racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Cory McClenathan , Luigi Novelli , Morgan Lucas , Von Smith