Brainerd: Larry Dixon preview

The Dixon Dispatch The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster Former Brainerd Top Fuel Champ Larry Dixon Doesn't Feel Any Pressure Heading Into This Weekend's Colonel's Nationals BRAINERD, MINN. (Aug. 13) - Larry Dixon...

The Dixon Dispatch
The Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster

Former Brainerd Top Fuel Champ Larry Dixon Doesn't Feel Any Pressure Heading Into This Weekend's Colonel's Nationals

BRAINERD, MINN. (Aug. 13) - Larry Dixon drove Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Dragster to the Top Fuel crown at Brainerd International Raceway two years ago when he beat Eddie Hill in the final round. That was a season that saw Dixon win just twice (Brainerd, Houston) and never in a position to make a serious run at the Winston Championship.

The 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season is the converse of two years ago as Dixon comes into this weekend's 20th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals (Aug. 17-19) sitting second in the points race for the 10th consecutive week. He has tallied three wins already this year (Gainesville, Columbus, Denver) after reaching five final rounds and has never been more than 80 points (four rounds) out of first, including one week at the top spot following his semifinal finish at Bristol, Tenn.

But Dixon does not feel that his consistent Miller Lite Team has any advantages coming back to a tricky drag strip like B.I.R.

"Next to Sears Point (Sonoma), Brainerd has the shortest amount of concrete on its track compared to any other track we race in the country," said Dixon. "If it's hot out this weekend, the cars will have no chance to get up enough speed to run really fast. If we get cool weather, then things should tighten up and the racing will be pretty good. Ideally for us, we would like to see concrete run as far as they would let us - the entire 1,320 feet."

"As far as having any kind of advantage at a track like Brainerd where I have won before, well, the only thing that gives you is good memories," said Dixon. "Every time we race at a new track, we have to prove ourselves week in and week out. That's the difference between NHRA and Winston Cup. There are no provisionals so if you want to win, you had better go out there and earn it."

Dixon, crew chief Dick LaHaie and the Snake Racing bunch definitely have earned their lofty status as one of the elite Top Fuel teams this season.

They have maintained their position in the standings throughout the year based on outstanding performance that has seen Dixon post a No. 3 average qualifying position, reach the semis at 12 out of 16 races and stretch Top Fuel's longest opening round winning streak to 17, dating back to last season's O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Houston (Oct. 29, 2000).

In spite of his successful season to date, Dixon has not let the pressure that often accompanies a driver in the hunt for a series championship get the better of him.

"I am having the greatest time right now, in fact this is my best season ever," said Dixon. "As far as the performance of the car and winning races goes, this is a great time. I can't let the pressure build up and start worrying about the points because it can't do any good. I just try to go out, win rounds and win races. If you do that, then you'll wind up number one at the end of the year."

"It's just like asking an NFL team right now how they feel about winning the Super Bowl," said Dixon. "We are working on a course to be in contention for the championship at the end of the season. We can't worry about our Super Bowl right now. We can't do anything right now except worry about Brainerd." <pre> Larry Dixon's Career Results in Brainerd

Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Champion Ntls. No. 3 First round- E. Hill 1996 Champion Ntls. No. 5 Semifinals-E. Hill 1997 Champion Ntls. No. 5 Second round-E. Hill 1998 Northstar Ntls. No. 10 Semifinals-M. Dunn 1999 Colonel's Ntls. No. 4 WON-E. Hill 2000 Colonel's Ntls. No. 10 Second round-D. Kalitta

2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Kenny Bernstein 1370 n/a 2. LARRY DIXON 1294 76 out 3. Gary Scelzi 1096 274 out 4. Doug Kalitta 1079 291 out 5. Mike Dunn 1043 327 out 6. Darrell Russell 997 373 out 7. Doug Herbert 880 490 out 8. Tony Schumacher 830 540 out 9. David Grubnic 705 665 out 10. Rhonda Hartman 568 802 out

Larry Dixon Appearance & Racing Schedule

Below is the tentative schedule for Larry Dixon for this weekend's Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals.

Date & Time Location Wed, 8/15 600-800p Mall of America rotunda autograph signing, Minneapolis, 763-760-0615

Thur, 8/16 700-800p Pickle Factory, Main St, Nisswa 800-900p Zorba's on Main St, Lake Shore

Fri, 8/17 330-630p Qualifying sessions #1 & #2 Sat, 8/18 130-430p Qualifying sessions #3 & #4

Sun, 8/19 1100a Eliminations begin

NHRA on Television This Weekend

Date & Time (ET) Network Coverage Aug. 18, 800-1000p ESPN Qualifying Aug. 19, 500-700p ESPN 2 Eliminations

- www.snakeracing.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie