Las Vegas: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon captured his 50th career victory when he won the 23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals last weekend and tied Kenny Bernstein for the most Top Fuel wins at Houston Raceway Park. Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier; he also recorded the...

Larry Dixon captured his 50th career victory when he won the 23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals last weekend and tied Kenny Bernstein for the most Top Fuel wins at Houston Raceway Park. Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier; he also recorded the low elapsed time and top speed of the event. He defeated Del Cox, Jr., David Grubnic, points leader Cory McClenathan and Antron Brown on his way to the winner's circle. Dixon dedicated his 50th career win to his son, Darien, who was in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from surgery to treat a bacterial infection in his leg; he was released from the hospital yesterday. Dixon also won the season-opening Kragen-O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

Dixon enters the 11th annual Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in second place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails first place Cory McClenathan by 28 points.

Dixon has been an excellent qualifier so far this season; he claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season at Houston last weekend. He qualified second at Pomona, Calif., third at Phoenix, third at Gainesville, Fla., second at Charlotte and first at Houston. Dixon's average qualifying position so far this year is 2.20. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier 41 times in his career.

Dixon is a four-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway having won races there in 2005, '03 and twice in '02. With a victory this weekend, Dixon would tie Tony Schumacher for most Top Fuel wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. One year ago at this event, Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier. 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 50 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 62 wins. Dixon is in eighth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Las Vegas:

"The whole weekend in Houston was pretty exciting getting the Al-Anabi car on the pole in qualifying and then being able to come back to make three and a half good runs and still come home with a win. That was a great weekend all around. I can't imagine what it looked like from the fan standpoint with two cars out there smoking tires and the drivers pedaling. I still haven't seen the final round video yet, but I'm looking forward to it. From my standpoint, it feels like the run takes 10 minutes and all of a sudden, it's over. We were able to sneak one in, and we'll take it. I've had plenty of pretty losses, and I'm happy to have an ugly win.

"Fifty wins is something I wasn't sure I'd ever get when I started driving. At that time, there were only a few of people in racing with that many wins, so it wasn't even a dream back then. It's reflection of the great cars and great teams that I've been fortunate enough to race with. I am confident I'm not done at 50; we're going to try to add to that this weekend in Las Vegas.

"Where we are in points is probably where our Al-Anabi Racing team feels we should be, and that's how fast things can turn in this sport. We entered Houston eliminations fourth in points. One day later, we have a couple wins under our belt, and we're a round out of first place. That's the type of team that His Highness Sheik Khalid hoped we would provide, and I hope we can continue to perform at this level. It can turn around fast so we have to keep working.

"I enjoy running at Las Vegas, but I enjoy running all of Bruton Smith's race tracks. Each one of them is a state of the art facility, and the tracks themselves are good, too. Las Vegas is at elevation, and I set the speed record there a few years ago so we all know it's an excellent race track, and I'm always excited to race there."

-source: al-anabi racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , David Grubnic , Cory McClenathan , Urs Erbacher