Brainerd: Larry Dixon preview

BRAINERD, MINN. (Aug. 11) --2002 NHRA POWERade Defending Champ Larry Dixon is one step closer to securing a second NHRA championship title. Leading the Top Fuel class with 310 points the Snake Racing/Miller Lite dragster is confidently driving ...

BRAINERD, MINN. (Aug. 11) --2002 NHRA POWERade Defending Champ Larry Dixon is one step closer to securing a second NHRA championship title. Leading the Top Fuel class with 310 points the Snake Racing/Miller Lite dragster is confidently driving toward another championship while making notches in NHRA history along the way. The road to success will lead Dixon and the Snake racing crew to Brainerd Minnesota this weekend for the 22nd annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway (Aug.16-17th).

Previously there was 330 feet of concrete today the new drag strip at Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) has over 700 feet of super flat concrete. Having a significant lead in the points will come in handy for Dixon as he and the Top Fuel class will look for any possible advantage on a newly surfaced track.

"At this point no one has the advantage," said Dixon, "it's a brand new race track that no one has run on. We haven't been on a new surface in a long time, probably since Sears Point. You'll see conditions change daily as more rubber is applied to the race track."

Although it's out with the old and in with the new track, the Don Prudhomme dragster drove rather well on the old track. Over the last eight years Dixon has been to BIR, he has qualified among the top five all but twice. But it was twice that Dixon won the race defeating Eddie Hill in 1999 and Darrell Russell 2001, also posting a runner-up finish just last year.

"We had a good package at the track last year and we'll try to improve upon it for this year," said Dixon. "We're just trying to win another POWERade title, I really don't think any farther down the line than that. Along the way if there are records that are broke or things that are done, it's just icing on the cake. I think our goal every year is to win as many races as we can toward winning another POWERade title."

While trying to achieve the goal of a second championship, Dixon has won a career best three races in a row, became the fourth driver to win the Western Sweep (Force, Amato, McClenathan) and is one win away from tying his own NHRA record for the most Top Fuel wins in one season (nine: Dixon, 2002; Gary Scelzi, 2000). Perhaps this is the icing on the cake Dixon is referring to.

In light of the recent victories in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma to Dixon one win stands apart from the rest. "The run that really impressed me and people that I've spoken to was running a 4.67 in the final round at Seattle," said Dixon. "It wasn't just winning the race, it was winning the race from the inferior lane. There again I think a lot of the credit should go to the team for being able to do that."

Given the odds and the challenging lane conditions the win in Seattle was undoubtedly remarkable. Equally remarkable are Dixon's four victories in the last five events adding to his career total of 33.

"Maybe later in life I'll look back and realize there was one better than another," said Dixon "but at this point I'm just trying to add to the collection. While we have a really good package, we're just trying to win as much as we can and not get too emotional about it."

Look for Dixon and the Snake Racing team to keep their emotions in check while en-route to a second championship title and a possible win this weekend at the 22nd annual Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd International Speedway.

ESPN2 will air one hour of qualifying Saturday (Aug.16th) at 9:00 PM ET with final round coverage of the 22nd annual Lucas Oil Nationals airing on Sunday (Aug. 17th) at 5:00 PM ET on ESPN.

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Gary Scelzi