PHOENIX, AZ (Feb. 12) - With safety playing such a major role in discussions regarding all forms of motor sports as of late, the HANS device is growing in popularity among NHRA drivers, and that includes Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon. ...
PHOENIX, AZ (Feb. 12) - With safety playing such a major role in discussions regarding all forms of motor sports as of late, the HANS device is growing in popularity among NHRA drivers, and that includes Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon.
Dixon, who suffered a horrific crash at Memphis last fall (October 8), wasted no time in ordering the high-tech head restraint system the following week and has been waiting for its delivery which is scheduled to arrive in time for the Checkers-Shucks-Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway (Feb. 15-18).
"The best way I can explain it is to take a look at the type of shoulder pads that New York Jets linebacker Brian Cox wears," said Dixon. "It is basically like a set of shoulder pads with an upright neck support in the back, but with special tethers on the harness that keep your head solidly with you in the event of a crash. When there is any forward impact, the slack gets taken out of the tethers and stops your head from slapping around."
"The only reason why I haven't worn it sooner is because it doesn't fit the way it should in our car, so I had to custom order one and I have been waiting since the Houston race last fall," said Dixon. "Our cockpit is so much more confining than an F1 or CART car because they don't have an overhead roll bar in their cage like we do. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all, so I had to have one specially made by Ken Adams' HANS company located in Georgia. As it was, it didn't fit the driving position I currently sit in and as far as I know, the only cars out here it does fit in as it is originally manufactured are Funny Cars and Brad Hadman-built Top Fuel chassis."
If his custom made HANS (head and neck restraint) device does fit, it will not be the only improved safety measure Dixon is implementing. He was the first driver to debut the 6-point harness in his cockpit two weeks ago Pomona which allows for better leg restraint than the older 5-point version.
"Was there anything wrong with the five-point? No, but if the six-point harness is better, why not use it?" said Dixon. "I really like all the safety stuff. It lets me drive over my head and come out okay. That's why I use thicker gloves than anyone else. That's why my fire suit has one layer more than everyone else's. Am I paranoid? No, but I don't want to have to worry about anything when I am in the car. All the safety devices I use let me focus on driving and if I do get into trouble, they do all the work for me."
Dixon Career Results in Phoenix
Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Atsco Ntls. No. 5 WINNER-S. Anderson 1996 Atsco Ntls. No. 10 semi-finals-K.Bernstein 1997 Atsco Ntls. No. 12 First round-S. Kalitta 1998 Atsco Ntls. No. 9 First round - M. Dunn 1999 CSK Ntls. No. 3 First round - A. Cowin 2000 CSK Ntls. No. 3 semi-finals-B. Vandergriff
2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings
1. Darrell Russell 112 n/a 2. Mike Dunn 97 15 out 3. LARRY DIXON 76 36 out 4. Bobby Baldwin 71 41 out 5. Doug Kalitta 58 54 out 6. David Grubnic 54 58 out Gary Scelzi 54 58 out 8. Tim Gibson 53 59 out 9. Doug Herbert 35 77 out 10. Andrew Cowin 33 79 out
NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon will be making several appearances this week throughout the Phoenix area where he will be meeting local drag racing fans. Below is a tentative schedule for Dixon for this year's CSK Nationals at Firebird Raceway:
Date & Time Location Thur, 2/15 6:30-8 pm Hooters of Chandler, 4804 East Chandler, Suite 100, phone (480) 496-0004
Fri, 2/16 2 & 4 pm Qualifying sessions #1 & #2 Sat, 2/17 2 & 4 pm Qualifying sessions #3 & #4 Sun, 2/18 11:00 am Eliminations begin