Las Vegas II: Larry Dixon preview

* Larry Dixon is second in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings; he trails first place by 47 points with two races remaining in the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs. Dixon finished second in the countdown last year and is making...

* Larry Dixon is second in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings; he trails first place by 47 points with two races remaining in the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs. Dixon finished second in the countdown last year and is making his third countdown appearance in as many years.

* Dixon has won five races this season: Gainesville, Fla., Topeka, Kan., Englishtown, N.J., Norwalk, Ohio and Reading, Pa. Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier at last month's NHRA Virginia Nationals near Richmond; he had a solo-run win in the first round before losing to Doug Kalitta in the second round of eliminations.

* Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier eight times this season including each of the last four races; he has never won more poles in a season in his career. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier more than any other driver in Top Fuel or Funny Car this year. He was the No. 1 qualifier seven times in 2002. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier 39 times in his career.

* Dixon is a four-time winner in Las Vegas having visited victory circle there in 2005, '03 and twice in '02. One year ago at Las Vegas, Dixon was the No. 4 qualifier; he defeated Clay Millican and Cory McClenathan before losing to Tony Schumacher in the semifinals. Earlier this season, Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier at Las Vegas; he defeated Urs Erbacher before losing to Brandon Bernstein in the second round of eliminations.

* 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 48 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 61 wins. Dixon is tied with Jeg Coughlin for ninth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; they trail eighth-place Don Prudhomme by one win. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Las Vegas:

"I like where the Al-Anabi team is in the playoffs right now; I like the car and everything else that's going on. The team is making great calls, and the whole package is going well. There have been a few dumb things that have happened that have kept us from winning. Sooner or later, those things will run out, and we'll be able to get our Al-Anabi car back in the winner's circle. The way the points are, if we win both races, we'll win the championship. I'm not wishing anything bad on anyone, but if we take care of our own business, everything else will take care if itself.

"The playoff mindset doesn't change for the Al-Anabi dragster or me. We go into every event trying to get every point we can get. If we're successful at that, things will work out the way we want them to so nothing has changed from that stand point. We have the same goals. Fortunately for us, the strange little things that have happened haven't knocked us out of contention. Everyone around us has had their own issues, so we can still go out there and try to do our thing.

"There are three or four cars that have the opportunity to win a championship, and this is why NHRA has come up with the Countdown format for the playoffs. It allows a bunch of teams a shot at the title coming down to the wire, and it's a great feeling to be in the thick of the battle. Winning a championship for His Highness Sheik Khalid Al Thani and the people of Qatar would be awesome. A lot has to go our way in the last two races for that to happen, but I can promise you everyone on our team will do everything possible to make it happen."

-credit: ajaar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Brandon Bernstein , Urs Erbacher