Columbus: Dixon strong

HEBRON, Ohio - Being selected by a team owner to drive a 6,000-horsepower, nitromethane-burning, 325 mph dragster is quite an accomplishment and a privilege. When that team owner is the legendary Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, it gives a whole new ...

HEBRON, Ohio - Being selected by a team owner to drive a 6,000-horsepower, nitromethane-burning, 325 mph dragster is quite an accomplishment and a privilege. When that team owner is the legendary Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, it gives a whole new meaning to the word 'honored.'

Larry Dixon was selected by Prudhomme to drive the Miller Lite dragster in 1995, after working for seven years as the team's engine specialist. Dixon did not disappoint as he went on to win the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year award. Dixon proved to be the best choice as he stormed to a third place finish in the Winston standings and won four of five final round appearances during his rookie campaign. Now in his seventh year of Top Fuel competition, Dixon has firmly established himself as one of the elite drivers in the sport driving one of the most powerful dragsters on the planet.

Dixon will travel to the Buckeye State to demonstrate his driving skills in the 37th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing, June 14-17, at historic National Trail Raceway. The $2 million race is the 11th of 24 races in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

In a year where the Top Fuel competition has seen four different points leaders, Dixon has used consistent qualifying efforts and solid performance during eliminations to remain near the top of the standings and within striking distance of current points leader Kenny Bernstein.

"This is probably the strongest (Top Fuel field) I have ever seen in the last 10 years," said the 34-year-old Dixon. "There are about five cars right now that absolutely are capable of running in the 4.40s and at 330 mph. The competition is just completely stout right now."

As the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season continues, veteran racers like Dixon realize it is too early to start getting caught up in the standings. "As far as the points race goes, there is only one other car out there doing better than we are, so I can't be too unpleased with that," said Dixon, who now resides in Indianapolis. "We are one third of the way through our season and we are sitting right in the middle of (the points race). We need to be able to run strong during the summer months and that is one of the strong points for (crew chief) Dick LaHaie. I am hoping we can bank on our car to run even a little bit stronger this summer and continue on for the rest of the season."

With all the success Dixon has experienced throughout his already-impressive career, visiting the winner's circle at the famed Ohio quarter-mile has eluded the talented Top Fuel pilot.

"For me personally, Columbus is the only major (race) left that I haven't won yet," said Dixon. "I have won at Englishtown (N.J.), Pomona (Calif.), Indianapolis and even Gainesville (Fla.), but out of all the big races that have been around for a long time, I still haven't won at Columbus. So I would like to do well there and I would like to win it. In the past Dick LaHaie has done well at Columbus, so I just hope some of his success rubs off on me."

-NHRA

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Dick LaHaie