Brainerd: Dixon enters as champion

BRAINERD, MN (Aug. 14) - There are many reasons why Larry Dixon should be happy about how the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series has gone heading into the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals (Aug. 17-20). With 14 of 23...

BRAINERD, MN (Aug. 14) - There are many reasons why Larry Dixon should be happy about how the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series has gone heading into the 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals (Aug. 17-20).

With 14 of 23 point-earning events complete on this year's schedule, Dixon has piloted the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite Dragster to two national event wins in five final round appearances en route to second place in the Winston Top Fuel points race. Just 97 points out of first, Dixon is enjoying his best position in the top ten standings this late in the season since climbing behind the wheel for his 1995 Rookie of the Year campaign.

The 33-year-old, Indianapolis-based driver should also be happy to return to northern Minnesota this weekend to defend his 1999 Top Fuel title after defeating Eddie Hill in the final round last season. Dixon's win over Hill in '99 was a special one as it was the gray-haired (and bearded) veteran driver who sent Prudhomme's successor home four out of five previous year's of competition at Brainerd International Raceway. For his efforts at B.I.R., Dixon was also rewarded with a Harley Davidson Road King Classic by Miller Brewing Company as part of a summer promotion last season.

But despite all these positive vibes, Dixon is quick to point out that absolutely no one is content in the Snake Pit.

"Everyone else might have their eye on second place, but I am definitely looking past that," said Dixon. "Going into this weekend's race in Brainerd, you would think that we have an advantage as defending champions. But weather played a key role in our win there last year, plus there have been so many changes on our Miller team since last year that I don't think we are going to have any advantage over any of the other top fuel teams racing at B.I.R. this weekend."

Crew Chief Dick LaHaie has the No. 91 car running with a consistency the Dixon has not seen since his rookie year. The 1987 Winston Top Fuel Champion has tuned Dixon to the semifinal round at 10 of the first 14 races this season, marking a huge improvement for a team that suffered 11 first-round losses in 1999.

"While we haven't put up any hero numbers like last year's 4.48 run, LaHaie has really kept us in the hunt with Gary and Tony for the Winston Championship," Dixon added.

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Larry Dixon's Career Results in Brainerd

Year        Event                   Qual.           Finish & Winning Driver
1995        Champion Nationals      No. 3           First round- E. Hill
1996        Champion Nationals      No. 5           Semifinals-E. Hill
1997        Champion Nationals      No. 5           Second round-E. Hill
1998        Northstar Nationals     No. 10          Semifinals-M. Dunn
1999        Colonel's Nationals     No. 4           WON-E. Hill

2000 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1.  Gary Scelzi             1185         
2.  LARRY DIXON         1088        97 out
3.  Tony Schumacher     1076        109 out
4.  Kenny Bernstein     909         276 out
5.  Joe Amato               892         293 out
6.  Doug Kalitta            798         387 out
7.  Cory McClenathan        702         483 out
8.  Bob Vandergriff Jr.     588         588 out
9.  Doug Herbert            571         614 out
10. Don Lampus          568         617 out

Larry Dixon To Meet Minnesota Area Drag Race Fans Larry Dixon will make several appearances throughout the Brainerd area before this weekend's 19th Annual Colonel's Truck Accessories Nationals. Below is the tentative appearance schedule:

Date & Time             Location
Wed, 8/16   8-10 p.m.       Sheps, The Pit Stop & The Blue Ox
Thur, 8/17  8:30-9 a.m.     KLIZ 1380 AM-Live in studio
            7-9 p.m.        Paul Bunyan Bar & Grill, Tropical Nights & The Iron Rail
    

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie , Don Lampus , Bob Vandergriff