Gainesville: Toyota Motorsports preview

GAINESVILLE FULL OF FIRSTS FOR DIXON -- For Toyota Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon, Gainesville and firsts have become synonymous. Not only has the Al-Anabi Racing driver finished first in winning four Top Fuel events at the Gatornationals, but the...

GAINESVILLE FULL OF FIRSTS FOR DIXON -- For Toyota Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon, Gainesville and firsts have become synonymous. Not only has the Al-Anabi Racing driver finished first in winning four Top Fuel events at the Gatornationals, but the legendary track has played a huge role in his career.

It was in Gainesville where Dixon drove a dragster for the very first time when he attended a Frank Hawley Drag Racing School in 1990. He also went on to earn his first license for a Top Fuel car in Gainesville and then came back as a rookie to win the Gatornationals in 1995. Finally, the Gatornationals were the site of another first last season when Dixon and the brand new Al-Anabi Racing team won their first-ever event at the Florida track.

GAINESVILLE WINNERS -- Three current Toyota-sponsored drivers have previously won the Gatornationals. Larry Dixon has won four times in Gainesville, taking Top Fuel honors in 1995, 2001, 2002 and 2009. In addition to Dixon's efforts, both Toyota Camry Solara Funny Car drivers have won in Florida with Del Worsham winning in 2004 and Cruz Pedregon victorious in 1998.

LAST YEAR'S GATORNATIONALS -- Larry Dixon defeated Cory McClenathan in the final round to win the 2009 Gatornationals. The victory was the first of the season for Al-Anabi Racing and the first of five on the season for Dixon.

Each of the other three current Toyota-sponsored Top Fuelers, Antron Brown, Lucas and Shawn Langdon, advanced to the second round, while Del Worsham was also eliminated in the second round and Cruz Pedregon was topped in the opening round of Funny Car competition.

Talking Gainesville:

Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Toyota Camry Solara: "Gainesville is the big kickoff for the east coast swing. It's a big race and a very prestigious one. In a lot of ways, it's the Pomona of the east coast with one of the biggest crowds we'll see all year. Not only do Gator fans love their Gatornationals, but fans come from all over the east coast and all the way up to Canada for this one."

Del Worsham, Al-Anabi Racing Toyota Camry Solara: "You'll see the biggest crowds in drag racing down in Gainesville. On Sunday, they'll probably have to lock the gates to keep people out. The crowds are just stunning. They have been coming out like that for as long as I've been around. When you get there, you just can't believe it."

-source: toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Del Worsham , Cruz Pedregon , Frank Hawley , Shawn Langdon