Brainerd: Larry Dixon preview

* Larry Dixon is one of four Top Fuel drivers who have clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 Playoffs. The Countdown to 1 begins Sept. 17-20 at the second annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. A total of 10 ...

* Larry Dixon is one of four Top Fuel drivers who have clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 Playoffs. The Countdown to 1 begins Sept. 17-20 at the second annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. A total of 10 drivers will compete for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship.

* Dixon is third in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings; he trails second place by 49 points. Dixon has advanced to at least the semifinals in seven of the 15 races this season including four of the last seven.

* Last month in Sonoma, Dixon was the No. 2 qualifier but lost to Mike Strasburg in the first round of eliminations. Dixon has four wins this season visiting victory circle in Gainesville, Fla., Topeka, Kan., Englishtown, N.J. and Norwalk, Ohio.

* One year ago in Brainerd, Dixon was the No. 4 qualifier but lost to J.R. Todd in the first round of eliminations. Dixon won the 1999 and 2001 races at Brainerd International Raceway.

* 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 47 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 59 wins. Dixon is in ninth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; he trails eighth-place Don Prudhomme by just two wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Brainerd:

"Our car has shown that it can run well from where we qualified in the last three races, but at the end of the day, race day hasn't been so kind to us. At Denver, we lost a good drag race. At Seattle and Sonoma, we just missed the setup. We had a good car at all three events, so nothing's broken; we just have to keep making runs. Our guys are working on the engine and the clutch, and the car has everybody's full attention. At this point in the season, only two cars are better than us in points so it's not like we're in a bad situation. We just need to keep qualifying well and go rounds so we keep collecting data.

"I like going to Brainerd. For the most part, I think I've done well there in the past, and Jason (crew chief Jason McCulloch) and Alan (team owner Alan Johnson) have done well there, too. There's gonna be a new track surface there that we'll be racing on similar to what we saw at Norwalk. We'll probably end up using some Norwalk data at Brainerd, and we didn't do too badly there so that might be a good sign for Brainerd."

-credit: ajaar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Don Prudhomme , Mike Strasburg , J.R. Todd