Gainesville: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier at Phoenix and advanced to the semifinals where he lost to Brandon Bernstein. It was the 32nd time in his career that Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier. He defeated Terry Haddock and Doug Kalitta on his way to...

Larry Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier at Phoenix and advanced to the semifinals where he lost to Brandon Bernstein. It was the 32nd time in his career that Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier. He defeated Terry Haddock and Doug Kalitta on his way to the semifinals where his car suffered a broken throttle cable. Dixon is currently sixth in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings.

Dixon's Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster was a model of consistency 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.

One year ago at Gainesville, Dixon was the No. 8 qualifier and advanced to the semifinals where he was defeated by Tony Schumacher. Dixon defeated Doug Herbert and Bruce Litton on his way to the semifinals. Dixon won the Gatornationals in 1995, 2001, and '02.

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 43 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 two wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Gainesville:

"At Phoenix, we all got back on the horse and back into the game. We showed our capabilities with some very consistent runs. A $50 cable broke and ended our weekend, but we jumped from 17th in points to sixth in points in one race. We are all excited about what we did at Phoenix and are looking forward to Gainesville and the rest of the season.

"Gainesville has been a great place for me because I've had quite a few career milestones there. I first got into an alcohol dragster at Frank Hawley's school there in 1991, and then I got my Top Fuel license there in 1994. I was on Snake's crew that year, and we stayed over after the race so I could get my license. We ran right at national-record times when I got my license. The national record at that time was 4.74 seconds, and we ran 4.76 seconds so that was pretty cool; then a guy named Del Worsham signed my new license.

"Now we're headed back to Gainesville where I've won the race three times. I always enjoy going down there because I have a lot of good memories of racing at the Gatornationals."

-credit: ajaar

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