Charlotte: Larry Dixon preview

* Larry Dixon has qualified for the NHRA Countdown to 1 Playoffs which begin this weekend at the second annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. Dixon finished second in the countdown last year and is making his third ...

* Larry Dixon has qualified for the NHRA Countdown to 1 Playoffs which begin this weekend at the second annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. Dixon finished second in the countdown last year and is making his third countdown appearance in as many years. A total of 10 drivers are competing for the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship.

* Dixon is second in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings; he trails first place Antron Brown by 30 points entering the Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs, and he is 10 points ahead of third place Tony Schumacher after the points were reset following the regular season.

* Dixon has advanced to at least the semifinals in 10 of the 18 races this season. He has won five of the seven races in which he has advanced to the final round of eliminations; he has advanced to the finals in each of the last three events.

* Dixon was the No. 4 qualifier at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis; he defeated Clay Millican, Morgan Lucas and Spencer Massey before losing to Tony Schumacher in the final round of eliminations. He won races earlier this season in Gainesville, Fla., Topeka, Kan., Englishtown, N.J., Norwalk, Ohio and Reading, Pa.

* One year ago in Charlotte, Dixon was the No. 1 qualifier; he defeated Doug Foley before losing to eventual event winner Tony Schumacher in the second round of eliminations.

* 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 48 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 60 wins. Dixon is tied with Jeg Coughlin for ninth place on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; they trail eighth-place Don Prudhomme by one win. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Charlotte:

"Three finals in three races was good; you want to win all of them, but it doesn't always work out that way. Jason (crew chief Jason McCulloch) and Alan (team owner Alan Johnson) have their hot rod back, and they like the way it's responding. We have a little momentum working entering the countdown so the timing is good.

"Round wins are the key to success in the countdown. If you get event wins at the same time, that's great because you have more round wins than anyone else. At the end of the day, you have six events and 24 possible rounds. Whoever wins the most rounds out of that will probably win the title. Making the best run you can and responding to the conditions each time is the key. If you're in all 24 of those rounds, you'd be hard to catch whether you win all of them or not. Entering the countdown, we only trail Antron so we only have to go around one guy. So we keep our heads down, gear up and get ready for it. To start the Countdown with four in a row, what happens in the four-race swing might be what you come out with. I like what we're bringing to the table; we'll see if it's enough.

"Z-Max Dragway is every drag racer's dream track. I'm old enough to remember when we went to Billy Myers' Texas Motorplex for the first time in 1986, and every race track that came after that had to live up to the bar being that high. The new tracks that have come on board most recently like Joliet and Bristol did it a little better. At Z-Max, it's all right there, and it's unbelievable so anyone who builds a new track going forward will have to live up to the level of excellence they've set there."

-credit: ajaar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Don Prudhomme , Morgan Lucas , Doug Foley , Spencer Massey