Indianapolis: Dixon homecoming

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 28) - Miller Lite Dragster pilot Larry Dixon has been coming to Indianapolis for the US Nationals since the age of 5, where he watched his father Larry Sr., top fuel cars in the 1970s. After joining Don "The ...

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 28) - Miller Lite Dragster pilot Larry Dixon has been coming to Indianapolis for the US Nationals since the age of 5, where he watched his father Larry Sr., top fuel cars in the 1970s.

After joining Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's crew in 1986, Dixon spent several weeks in Indy each year while traveling from Prudhomme's race shop to the next stop on that season's NHRA circuit. It came as no surprise to many when Larry and his wife Ali relocated to Indianapolis (Avon) last January from their Southern California home, as Indy has always seemed like a second home to the 33-year-old, second generation driver.

"For me, moving to Indianapolis, the one place that has all the types of auto racing, was like giving a kid the key to Disneyland," said Dixon.

There have been several great memories for Dixon at Indy Raceway Park including wins in 1989 as a member of Snake's Funny Car crew, as well as a top fuel win of his own in 1995 as he became just the third driver in NHRA history to win the prestigious US Nationals in his rookie year.

"It was nice to win that year because the year before in 1994 we had a car that was going to win the race, but we had a dumb part break, so when Snake lost, that was it for him, he was done there. It was a real let down. So to come back and win the next year was nice because that race in '94 got away from us."

Last season's trip to Indy proved to be the most difficult for the sixth-year driver. After having set the then-national elapsed time record (4.486) earlier in the year and winning the Brainerd race just one race earlier, Dixon failed to qualify for Sunday's elimination round, marking only the third time he has missed the show. Entering the race just four rounds out of first place, the DNQ was a disappointing turn of events that seriously hurt his run at last year's Winston championship. The driver of the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite/Raybestos car is optimistic that this year's trip to his new hometown will see much better results as he enters the race just 78 points out of first and well within striking distance of this season's top fuel crown.

"The only constant between this year and last is our number of round wins out of first place," said Dixon. "We have a really good running car and it doesn't matter whether its cloudy, dark, sunny or humid, Dick LaHaie has the car running superbly. Last year the championship was up for grabs and we didn't take advantage of it for a number of reasons. With that said, there are a number of reasons also why I would like to think that we will do better here in Indy than last year," said Dixon.

<pre> Larry Dixon's Career Results in Indianapolis

Year        Event               Qual.           Finish & Winning Driver
1995        US Nationals        No. 12          WON- B. Vandergriff
1996        US Nationals        No. 9           2nd round-T. Schumacher
1997        US Nationals        No. 4           1st round-R. Hartman
1998        US Nationals        No. 1           2nd round-G. Scelzi
1999        US Nationals        DNQ

2000 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1.  Gary Scelzi            1218         
2.  Tony Schumacher        1194        24 out
3.  LARRY DIXON            1140        78 out
4.  Kenny Bernstein         962         256 out
5.  Joe Amato               948         270 out
6.  Doug Kalitta            895         323 out
7.  Cory McClenathan        736         482 out
8.  Bob Vandergriff Jr.     660         558 out
9.  Doug Herbert            626         592 out
10. Don Lampus              602         616 out

Larry Dixon To Meet Hometown Indianapolis Drag Race Fans Larry Dixon will participate in several interviews and will be making public appearances throughout the Indy area before this weekend's 46th Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals. Below is the tentative appearance schedule:

Date & Time             Location
Tue, 8/29   8-9 p.          WKLU 101.9 FM Guest Host on "The Loudest Hour"     
                        with Paul Wilson.
Thur, 8/31  6:10 p.         WNDE 1260 AM- interview
                  7:30-8:40 p.      Russ' Lounge, 8758 Crawfordsville Road, 
Claremont                           (317) 291-4054
Fri, 9/1        7:30 p.         Nitro qualifying session #1 
Sat, 9/2    Noon/4 p.       Qual. Sessions #2 & #3
Sun, 9/3    12:15/4 p.      Qual. Sessions #4 & #5
Mon, 9/4    11 a.m.         Final eliminations begin          

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Dick LaHaie , Don Lampus , Bob Vandergriff , Paul Wilson