Charlotte: Larry Dixon preview

The NHRA 4-Wide Nationals will be the first national event in NHRA history in which teams will compete in four lanes instead of the traditional two. All of the basic rules of drag racing will be in place, but four cars will roll to the starting...

The NHRA 4-Wide Nationals will be the first national event in NHRA history in which teams will compete in four lanes instead of the traditional two. All of the basic rules of drag racing will be in place, but four cars will roll to the starting line for each round instead of two. Four cars will perform their burnouts side-by-side-by-side-by-side. Four cars will launch in each qualifying session and elimination round; Sunday's eliminations will have three rounds instead of the traditional four. Aside from a few differences in protocol during the lane-choice process, everything else will be business as usual.

Larry Dixon enters the inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in third place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He trails second-place Cory McClenathan by 16 points and leader Tony Schumacher by 27 points. He is nine points ahead of fourth-place Doug Kalitta. Earlier this month in Gainesville, Fla., Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier. He defeated Pat Dakin and Brandon Bernstein before losing to event winner Tony Schumacher in the semifinals.

zMax Dragway is one of just two tracks on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing tour on which Dixon has not won at least one race. The other is Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Dixon has been an excellent qualifier so far this season. He qualified second at Pomona, Calif., third at Phoenix and third at Gainesville, Fla.; he was the No. 1 qualifier nine times last year including five of the six races in the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs; he has never won more poles in a season in his career. Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier more than any other driver in Top Fuel or Funny Car last year. He was the No. 1 qualifier seven times in 2002. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier 40 times in his career.

Dixon won the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. He won five races last season: Gainesville, Fla., Topeka, Kan., Englishtown, N.J., Norwalk, Ohio and Reading, Pa. He finished second in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings just two points out of the championship in the inaugural season for Al-Anabi Racing.

Dixon won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 2002 and '03. He is currently third on the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel winner's list with 49 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 62 wins. Dixon is tied with Don Prudhomme for eighth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to the 4-Wide Nationals:

"I am excited the way our Al-Anabi team has started the season. We've qualified well and been competitive at every event, and I would hope we go into Charlotte with the same setup. We stayed over after Gainesville to try a few things with some different motor/clutch combinations, and we hit one that the car really responded to. Whether or not we can use it will be determined by when the conditions are right. We had a great test in Gainesville so we'll see what happens going forward.

"The four-wide format is something that I don't think anybody seriously ever considered 20 years ago or even two years ago but it's here, and we're racing it. Leave it to Bruton Smith to come up with a format that nobody ever imagined for a points race. We go into it with a lot of questions, and hopefully the Al-Anabi Racing team will have all of the answers by the end of the weekend.

"Not having done this before, I'm going into it with the mentality that I'm only racing one other car. I don't think we'll be able to see the other two cars because they'll be on the other side of the wall, so I really don't know what it'll be like. This is the kind of format you'd expect to see in a Winston all-star race, but with this thing, there are points on the line so it's not an exhibition, it's for real. It's gonna be interesting, I can promise you that."

-source: al-anabi racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Brandon Bernstein , Pat Dakin