Gainesville: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon looks for historical 3rd straight Gators win. GAINESVILLE, FL (March 4) - When the 2003 NHRA POWERade season began in January, Larry Dixon had the opportunity to make history as the first Top Fuel driver to win consecutive ...

Larry Dixon looks for historical 3rd straight Gators win.

GAINESVILLE, FL (March 4) - When the 2003 NHRA POWERade season began in January, Larry Dixon had the opportunity to make history as the first Top Fuel driver to win consecutive Winternationals titles. The reigning World Champion seized the moment by capturing his first win of the season, and 26th of his career, with a final round win over Cory McClenathan.

Dixon and the Don Prudhomme Racing-Miller Lite Team are presented with yet another chance to re-write the NHRA's history books at this weekend's 34th Annual Mac Tools Gatornationals (March 14-16). As the Top Fuel winner at Gainesville Raceway for the past two seasons, should Dixon pilot his No. 1 car to the winner's circle during this year's visit to the swamp, he would become the first Top Fuel driver claim three consecutive wins at "The Gators."

"Winning at Gainesville is exciting, period," said Dixon. "I have been fortunate enough to win there three times (1995, 2001, 2002). Would I like to make it four? Of course, but I don't think the competition is just going to lay over and let us do that. We have to go out there and earn our spot, both car and driver. I am just going to try and do my best to hold up my end of the deal and see how the chips fall."

Those chips have fallen pretty nicely for Dixon over the past two NHRA seasons, which have seen the Miller Lite Dragster finish second in the POWERade points race in 2001 before securing a first World Championship in 2002. That kind of performance has led Dixon to yet another NHRA record for longest consecutive time spent atop the point standings which spans the last 25 race weeks (since February 10, 2002).

"I love going to Gainesville," said Dixon. "Not to rehash all the history, but the first time I got into an open-wheel car was at Frank Hawley's school. I got licensed in Snake's car there and came back and won the race the first time I drove there. And, for the past two years we have won the race. It's a great place and we enjoy running there. The cars always seem to run real quick, real fast and our team is hoping that with some of the testing that we did at Phoenix, some of the things that we learned we will be able to apply to our tune up to the performance of the car to hopefully step it up a notch."

Following his second straight runner-up performance at Phoenix on February 23, Crew Chief Dick LaHaie called for his troops to stay over for an extra day of testing in the desert. According to Dixon, the extra time spent on the track was beneficial.

"We tried a bunch of different things in a bunch of different areas; ignition, superchargers, clutch, and motor," said Dixon. "Some things worked great, some things didn't work at all. From both sides of it, that's good to get that all in during testing so when you show up at a track like Gainesville you can just try and go out there and run your hardest. We actually have a test date set up for the day after the race to try and work in some more performance related equipment."

-dpr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie , Frank Hawley