Englishtown: Dixon nears 300 milestone

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (May 15) - Larry Dixon has seen many of his career highlights occur on the grounds of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, and he may collect another this weekend at the 32nd Annual Matco Tools Spring Super Nationals (May...

ENGLISHTOWN, NJ (May 15) - Larry Dixon has seen many of his career highlights occur on the grounds of Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, and he may collect another this weekend at the 32nd Annual Matco Tools Spring Super Nationals (May 18-20).

Dixon has enjoyed poles, national records and wins here, but should Don Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel Team reach the second round of eliminations on Sunday, it will mark Dixon's 300th career elimination round in just over six years as an NHRA driver. The second generation driver currently owns a mark of 176 wins-122 losses (.591 win percent) in 298 rounds. While in comparison, team owner, coach and mentor, Prudhomme, posted an astonishing mark of 389 wins in 589 total rounds over a 30 year career. Readching the 300 round mark is something that Dixon believes reflects more on the people around him than soley himself as a driver.

"To have reached 300 rounds in such a short career tells me that our teams must have done pretty well," said Dixon. "I wish it included more wins, but so would everybody else. For me, stuff like that are things that I will look back on when I have retired, but it is still an accomplishment to have reached 300 in a short period of time. Come the first and second rounds at Englishtown though, you can bet I won't be thinking about it."

Dixon, who is second in the Top Fuel points race, is also looking to get his second career win at E-town, as well as his second of the season. "Englishtown is one of the four big races of the season, one of the major events in drag racing each year," said Dixon. "As the Spring Nationals, it is one that has been around the longest, so for me and the Miller Team, I know we put more emphasis to do well at this race."

Dixon returns as the No. 1 qualifier from last year's event, but doesn't feel as though he has anything to prove after a semi-final finish. "I don't really feel like we left anything on the table here last year," said Dixon. "Last year we qualified No. 1, then we had to wait three months to race. There were so many things that had changed over that time that I feel we were pretty lucky to get to the semifinals, but I do think things would have worked out differently if we had gotten the race off the same weekend."

"It would be nice to get the entire race off this year-four qualifying sessions and four runs on Sunday. Looking at the standings really lets you know how tight the competition is in Top Fuel right now. If you look at Pro Stock, the points leader over there would only be good for fourth or fifth place in Top Fuel. That's how strong our class is running right now. Anyone in the top six, or even 10, cars can go out and win a race. This weekend could see the winner propelled from fifth place into first, or see the points leader drop down to fifth. This is one of the toughest years I can remember. No one is running away with anything."

"(Gary) Scelzi and (Tony) Schumacher are definitely figuring things out and that will make things even more tough. Anyone who has the potential to go out and win rounds like they do can make it that much harder for us to win an event."

<pre> 2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings 1. Mike Dunn 576 n/a 2. LARRY DIXON 551 25 out 3. Kenny Bernstein 507 69 out 4. Doug Kalitta 502 74 out 5. Darrell Russell 472 104 out 6. Gary Scelzi 409 167 out 7. Tony Schumacher 372 204 out 8. Doug Herbert 319 257 out 9. David Grubnic 308 268 out 10. Rhonda Hartman 283 293 out

Larry Dixon's Career Results in Englishtown Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Mopar Nationals No. 1 WINNER- over S. Kalitta 1996 Mopar Nationals No. 2 Runner-up-J. Amato 1997 Mopar Nationals No. 3 Second round-G. Scelzi 1998 Mopar Nationals No. 6 Semifinals-J. Amato 1999 Mopar Nationals No. 5 First round-B. Vandergriff 2000 Matco Nationals No. 1 Semifinals-D. Kalitta

</pre> Larry Dixon to Meet New Jersey Race Fans

NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon will be making appearances this week throughout the Englishtown area where he will be meeting and signing autographs for local drag racing fans. Below is a tentative schedule for Dixon:

<pre> Date & Time Location Thur, 5/17 730-830p Surf & Turf Fri, 5/18 6 & 8p Qualifying sessions #1 & #2 Sat, 5/19 2 & 4p Qualifying sessions #3 & #4 Sun, 5/20 11:00a Eliminations begin

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic , Don Prudhomme