DIXON LOOKS TO MAKE IT TWO STRAIGHT AS NHRA SCHEDULE HEATS UP AT BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 25, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon vaulted himself and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite race team immediately into title contention...
DIXON LOOKS TO MAKE IT TWO STRAIGHT AS NHRA SCHEDULE HEATS UP AT BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 25, 2005) -- Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon vaulted himself and Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite race team immediately into title contention when Dixon scored his 36th career NHRA victory by winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks ago. The win was Dixon's fourth at the Nevada facility, and with the victory he passed drag racing icon 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits for third place on the all-time Top Fuel wins list. The victory also was No. 100 for team owner and longtime boss Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, who became just the third driver/owner in drag racing history to earn 100 wins.
With all the accolades and headlines behind them, Dixon, Prudhomme and the entire Miller Lite/Ameriquest team are focused on making another solid showing when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes the first of two visits to The Volunteer State, April 29-May 1, for the Fifth annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals in the picturesque rolling hills of Eastern Tennessee at Bristol Dragway. Dixon won the Bristol race in 2002 en route to his first career NHRA Top Fuel crown.
"I think that win was a nice win for us at Las Vegas," Dixon said. "It certainly helped the morale of the team. We've had a good car all season long, but for one reason or another we haven't been able to close the deal. I think everyone on our team knew we had a good hot rod, and on that one Sunday in Las Vegas everyone else knew it as well. We're back in a good position and if we can keep up the same pace, we might be able to contend for the title at season's end."
While nine Top Fuel racers have claimed multiple NHRA titles, only Garlits, Joe Amato and Gary Scelzi have earned at least three NHRA crowns. Dixon and his Dick LaHaie-led Miller Lite/Lucas Oil crew have a chance to put their names among the Top Fuel elite if they can claim a third NHRA Top Fuel championship in four seasons. With a few 4.4-second passes, a pair of final round appearances with one win and a top speed of the event (Las Vegas), Prudhomme's Top Fuel team appears well poised for another title run in drag racing's elite category.
Entering the Bristol event just eight points from second place and less than four rounds of competition away from the points lead, as well as the prospect of competing for the championship certainly intrigues the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.
"I feel the same way about the car right now as I did going into Pomona (Calif.) at the beginning at the year," Dixon said. "When you get into a car that runs as well as ours does, I'm excited to get into the race car and go race."
Dixon Does Bristol...
What do you like most about Bristol Dragway?
First off, it's a new facility. Second, since they made it a regular points event, the attendance keeps increasing each year. The people there like NHRA drag racing and that makes you feel good. We like to be places where people show up and want to check us out and see what NHRA drag racing is all about.
What is your favorite memory from Bristol Dragway?
The win in 2002 would have to stand out. Being able to win there was a cool deal. Every time we went there I felt that we had a strong car, so to be able to finally win was pretty satisfying.
What is your favorite Bristol-area restaurant?
It seems that a lot of the drivers and crew chiefs park in the NASCAR drivers area, so a lot more people bring motor homes to that event because the facility is setup so well for the motor homes. You see more people cooking out and it's kind of neat with the view in the hills.
We went to the Troutdale a few years back when I was there for the (Nextel) Cup race in the spring and I really liked it.
What do you like most about the Bristol area?
It's a little town, but when a race comes to town, it's a big city. Whether for our race or a (Nextel) Cup race, it's a neat setup. I really enjoy going there.
When you hear 'Bristol' the first thing that comes to mind is?
For me, everyone thinks of Bristol for the (Nextel) Cup race and all the people they put into a half-mile track. At the same time, my dad raced at the drag strip in the 1970s. For me, I remember spending my summer vacations with my dad on the road and one of the places that we'd run at was Bristol.