Baytown: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon won the AC Delco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. on March 15. It was his 44th career victory in 84 final-round appearances. After qualifying No. 1 for the 33rd time in his career, he defeated Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas, ...

Larry Dixon won the AC Delco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. on March 15. It was his 44th career victory in 84 final-round appearances. After qualifying No. 1 for the 33rd time in his career, he defeated Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein and Cory McClenathan on his way to victory. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier for the last two races. He is currently third in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings and 53 points out of first place.

Dixon's Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster has been a model of consistency in the last two races. At Phoenix, after qualifying runs of 3.843, 3.807, 3.828 and 3.818 seconds, Dixon recorded elapsed times of 3.815 and 3.802 seconds in the first two rounds of eliminations. At Gainesville, Dixon recorded elapsed times of 3.902, 3.935, 3.931 and 3.886 seconds in qualifying. In eliminations, the Jason McCulloch-tuned machine continued the pattern recording elapsed times of 3.882, 3.885, 4.091 and 3.898 seconds.

One year ago at Houston, Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier. He defeated Morgan Lucas, Bruce Litton and Doug Herbert before losing to Antron Brown in the final round of eliminations. Dixon won at Houston in 1999 and 2000.

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 44 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 56 wins. Dixon is 10th on the NHRA's all-time professional victories list. He trails ninth-place Dave Schultz by one win. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Houston:

"Every race, we've gotten a little bit better. We are all very excited about winning with a brand new team...brand new everything, but there's a sense of relief, too. We've all won before in different places, but with our new team and everybody working together for the first time, there's a sense of relief in getting that first win. We knew we could do it, but now we really know we can do it.

"The more runs I get in the car, the more I feel like it's mine / ours. Everything gets more comfortable. You make runs, go rounds, and everything gets better -- a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more at ease. This is my home now, and I am enjoying it.

"I've won a couple of races at Houston, but it's been a while. I went to the finals there last year. Had we been racing to 1000 feet then, I would have won that one. There was a huge bump at about 1000 feet at that track. We hit that, and it upset the car and got the tires spinning. We ended up losing to Antron Brown in a very tight race. After we left that track last year, I heard they were planning to concrete the entire racing surface, so I am definitely looking forward to going back there this year."

-credit: ajaar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Litton , Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas