Englishtown: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon enters the NHRA SuperNationals in first place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place Tony Schumacher by 135 points and third place Cory McClenathan by 159 points. Dixon won last weekend's United ...

Larry Dixon enters the NHRA SuperNationals in first place in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel point standings. He leads second-place Tony Schumacher by 135 points and third place Cory McClenathan by 159 points.

Dixon won last weekend's United Association Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. winning his fifth race in the season's first 10 races. He defeated Tim Cullinan, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher on his way to the winner's circle. Dixon set the Route 66 Raceway elapsed time track record three times last weekend. He set it with his 3.814-second run in qualifying Friday night. He set with his 3.786-second semifinal run Sunday night, and he set it again with his 3.773-second pass in the final round of eliminations Sunday night.

Dixon is the defending champion of the NHRA SuperNationals at Englishtown. He was the No. 2 qualifier last year; he defeated Rit Pustari, Brandon Bernstein, Shawn Langdon and Antron Brown on his way to victory. Including last year's win, Dixon has won five times at Englishtown. With a win this weekend, Dixon would tie Joe Amato for most Top Fuel wins at Englishtown, and he would tie Amato and Don Prudhomme (Funny Car) for the most wins in any single category at the suburban New Jersey track. Kenny Bernstein has seven wins at Englishtown, but those wins came in both Top Fuel and Funny Car.

Dixon has advanced to at least the semifinals in eight of the 10 events so far this season. He has five wins this year: the season-opening Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Baytown, Texas, the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga. and the United Association Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

Dixon has been an excellent qualifier this season having qualified in the top three at nine of the 10 races. Dixon's average qualifying position so far this year is 2.70. Dixon has been the No. 1 qualifier three times this season and 43 times in his career.

Dixon has raced Tony Schumacher in eliminations six times this season with each driver winning three times. The two met in the semifinals at Pomona, Gainesville, St. Louis, Atlanta and Topeka. Their race in Joliet this past weekend was their first final-round meeting of the season. In each of their six meetings this season, the winning driver has gone on to win the event.

Dixon is third on the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel final-round appearances list. Joe Amato and Tony Schumacher are tied atop the list with 99 final rounds, and Dixon is third with 97.

Dixon won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 2002 and '03. He is second on the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel winner's list with 53 victories; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 64 wins. Dixon is seventh on the NHRA's all-time career victories list; Greg Anderson is in sixth place with 60 wins. Dixon is fifth on the NHRA's career round wins list with 564 round wins; fourth-place Bob Glidden has 597. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Dixon prior to Englishtown:

"It wasn't a picture perfect weekend as far as weather goes, but the racing side of it definitely was. We didn't get our first run until after 11 p.m. on Friday, and everyone was worried about getting down the track. Since the forecast was questionable for Saturday, we all knew the Friday night round could be our only qualifying session of the weekend. When it came down to it, everyone had to go with their gut because nobody knew what the track would take. Alan (team manager, Alan Johnson) and Jason (crew chief Jason McCulloch) made the right calls, and we were able to run just a little bit better than Cory (McClenathan), and that ended up being the run that set the pole in qualifying. Then, to come back on race day and pick up the ET (elapsed time) every run was awesome. In the second round, Antron (Brown) could have won the race as easily as we did, but the Al-Anabi team was just on the right side of a good drag race.

"We've flip flopped with the Army team every time we've met recently. We win and then they win, and thankfully this weekend, it was our turn. The DSR group has three very good cars, and they all run pretty much identical. When you're racing any one of them, you have to bring your best and hope it's enough. On Sunday, we raced two of them, and we were able to beat both of them so that was obviously nice.

"Tony (Schumacher) is still wearing the number one, and he's worn it for a long time. They've earned that position, and if you're gonna challenge them for the position, you're going to have to go through them to get it. You can't back door your way into a championship; you have to earn it. When you race that team, you want to step up, bring your best, and hope that it's enough to beat them. I guess you get a rivalry by matching up often and having it not be one sided. Last year, they got the best of us, but this year, so far, it's been pretty even. I know they are working hard to improve their package and we're doing the same thing. We are very happy with what we've accomplished so far this season, but we aren't satisfied. Even this week, we want to get better so we bring the best package to New Jersey because we know that's what they're doing.

"In all honesty, I don't know what it is about Englishtown that has allowed me to have so much success there. The races I consider majors are the ones that mean the most to me. The ones that were on the tour when my dad was racing are important to me. Pomona, Englishtown, Gainesville and Indianapolis mean a lot. Those trophies shine a little brighter to me because of all the history. I remember reading about (Don) Garlits racing Shirley (Muldowney), and that was big time. It's like a kid who plays football and one day wants to play at Soldier Field. When he gets the opportunity, that's big time, and for me, Englishtown is one of those places. I've been fortunate enough to be with teams that have done well at those events, so I am looking forward to this weekend at Englishtown to see if we can keep our momentum going and hopefully pick up right where we left off Sunday night in Joliet."

-source: al-anabi racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Bob Glidden , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Brandon Bernstein , Shawn Langdon , Tim Cullinan