St. Louis: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon enters the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals as the Top Fuel points leader and on a two-race win streak. Dixon won the April 18 Sumitracing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his second win in as many races. It was...

Larry Dixon enters the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals as the Top Fuel points leader and on a two-race win streak. Dixon won the April 18 Sumitracing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his second win in as many races. It was the ninth time in Dixon's career that he has won consecutive races. He was the No. 2 qualifier at Las Vegas; he defeated Steve Faria, Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Cory McClenathan on his way to the winner's circle.

Dixon enjoys a slim one-point lead over McClenathan in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. Dixon's points lead is his first since he led the standings following the season's opening race in Pomona, Calif. Doug Kalitta is in third place 98 points behind Dixon.

Dixon now has 51 wins in his career and three wins this season; he won the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. and the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas in addition to his most recent win in Las Vegas.

Dixon has been an excellent qualifier so far this season having qualified in the top three at all six races. He qualified second at Pomona, Calif., third at Phoenix, third at Gainesville, Fla., second at Charlotte, first at Houston and second at Las Vegas. Dixon's average qualifying position so far this year is 2.17. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier 41 times in his career.

Gateway International Raceway is one of two tracks on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Tour at which Dixon has never won a race. The other is zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C. Dixon's career record at Gateway International Raceway is quite stunning: his average qualifying position is seventh; his career won-loss record is 11-12, and he has never competed in a final round at Gateway. However, Alan Johnson recorded four wins at Gateway when he was a crew chief. He won races at Gateway in 1998, '99 and 2000 with Gary Scelzi and in 2006 with Tony Schumacher. Last year at Gateway, Dixon was the No. 5 qualifier but lost to Joe Hartley in the first round of eliminations.

Dixon prior to Gateway International Raceway:

"I think our slim points lead is a reflection of what our Al-Anabi team did during qualifying in Las Vegas. We made up a half a round of points, and that allowed us to go into raceday less than a round out of the points lead. We knew that if we could get to the final and win the race, we could take the points lead no matter what anybody else did. How you get in the points lead is by winning rounds, so six races into the season, we have been fortunate enough to win three of them, and I think that's just a reflection of what the Al-Anabi team has done so far. It's great to be here, but to stay here, we have to keep winning rounds. Points are a report card on the season.

"The Top Fuel points battle isn't just one or two teams. There are several very good cars that are in the mix so far this season, and it's exciting to be one of them. We have to play hard every round; there are no easy rounds, and Phoenix was a perfect example. We stumbled a little bit, and an independent racer like Steve Chrisman got his car down the track and won, so you have to be prepared for a battle every time you go to the starting line. All three Schumacher cars are among the cars that are running well; they all seem to run the same so they're sharing information as you would expect. Every one of those cars obviously is capable of winning races so when they show up at the line, you better have your best package at the starting line every time.

"It's not at all frustrating not to have won in St. Louis. I don't feel like I've had bad luck there or anything; it's just that one thing or another has gone wrong to prevent us from winning there. Last year, I hadn't won Reading, and I'd been to final rounds unable to close the deal so that was a little different. We'll go into St. Louis, do our best and try to close the deal. Dale Earnhardt went to Daytona a bunch of times before he won the Daytona 500. He didn't give up, and the Al-Anabi team won't either."

-source: al-anabi racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Steve Chrisman , Shawn Langdon , Steve Faria