Gainesville: Larry Dixon preview

Larry Dixon enters the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in third place in the NHRA Full Throttle point standings. He trails second-place Doug Kalitta by 35 points and points leader Cory McClenathan by 40 points. Dixon won the 50th annual NHRA ...

Larry Dixon enters the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in third place in the NHRA Full Throttle point standings. He trails second-place Doug Kalitta by 35 points and points leader Cory McClenathan by 40 points. Dixon won the 50th annual NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. last month. In Phoenix, Dixon was the No. 3 qualifier but lost to Steve Chrisman in the first round of eliminations.

Dixon is the defending champion and a four-time winner of the Gatornationals; he is tied with Joe Amato for the most Gatornationals Top Fuel wins. Last year at Gainesville, he was the No. 1 qualifier; he defeated Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein and Cory McClenathan on his way to victory circle. It was the first victory for the Al-Anabi Racing Team and His Highness Sheik Khalid Al Thani. Dixon also won the Gatornationals in 1995, 2001 and '02.

Dixon 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 has been an excellent qualifier so far this season. He qualified second at Pomona, Calif. and third at Phoenix; 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 has won at least one race at every track on which the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series competes except ZMax Dragway in Concord, N.C. and Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

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 61 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 Gainesville:

"Winning in Gainesville last year, with the way the season started with missing the race at Pomona, was huge. We knew we were a good team, but we needed to reaffirm it to ourselves. Winning the third race of the season at one of the biggest races on the tour was a great way to do that, and it was my fourth Gatornationals win. It was also our first win for His Highness Sheik Khalid Al Thani and Al-Anabi Racing. It took a lot of pressure off everyone because we represent the entire country of Qatar. With the investment Sheik Khalid had made in our team, the only way we could pay him back was with winner's trophies so to be able to get that started early in the season was really nice. Alan (Johnson) already had plans to travel to Qatar after that race, so he was able to take the Gainesville Wally to Qatar and personally deliver it to Sheik Khalid so that made it especially nice.

"Looking back on Phoenix a couple of weeks ago, we were obviously bummed with the result, but that was a terrible weekend for reasons much more important than racing. The best thing about it is that we can put it behind us and move forward. We have an opportunity to get back on our horse and ride. We got knocked off in Phoenix, but now we get to get back on it. Hopefully the Sunshine state lives up to its name so we can get all of our qualifying runs in and hopefully get a lot of runs in on Sunday."

-source: ajaar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Brandon Bernstein , Morgan Lucas