POMONA, CA (Feb. 1) - Pomona has always been a special place for Larry Dixon, driver of the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite top fuel dragster. Having grown up in Southern California and watched his father Larry Sr. drive dragsters at Pomona ...
POMONA, CA (Feb. 1) - Pomona has always been a special place for Larry Dixon, driver of the Don Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite top fuel dragster. Having grown up in Southern California and watched his father Larry Sr. drive dragsters at Pomona Raceway makes every return trip to the fairgrounds seem like a homecoming. So despite his off-season move from Cardiff, Calif., to Indianapolis, it is easy to see why Dixon still feels he has the home field advantage for the 40th Annual NHRA Autozone Winternationals (Feb 3-6).
"€œPomona has always been a really great track and there is something about the home court advantage there for me,"€ said Dixon."Wâ€œWe've reached the final round of the Winternationals for the last two years and usually had pretty good success. I think that is due to the track. It is one of the older surfaces on the tour, but better than most as far as traction goes. You can really throw the numbers at it and the car stays hooked up."
Dixon, 33, feels that taking up residence in Avon, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, doesn't mean he has to give up his status as the '€œhometown favori'eâ€ this weeken". â€œI will have to put 33 years in in Indiana before that place will feel like home,"€ said the Van Nuys High School graduate. "€œI was born and raised in Southern California so it has always seemed like home. I mean, all my family and friends live there, just everything."
After winning the Winternationals top fuel crown in 1998, Dixon returned to the finals the following year in his attempt to become the first driver to successfully defend his title at the Pomona event. His 1998 win, combined with Snake Racing teammate Ron Capps' funny car victory, made Prudhomme only the fifth team owner in NHRA history to sweep an event.
This weekend will also see the debut of the NHRA's new rules limiting the percentage of nitromethane used in the fuel categories, as well as penalties for oiling down the track. Dixon thinks that the nitro percentage will definitely have some effect at the first race of the season. "€œEven thouht all the teams have been able to test with the percentage change, testing is not the same as a national event. Testing isn't done at NHRA prepped tracks, so I think we will see times slow down five-hundredths. But by the end of the season, it doesn't mean that cars can't run as quick and fast as before. They might even run faster."€
Dixon Career Results in Pomona Year Event Qual. Finish & Winning Driver 1995 Winternationals No. 2 Semifinals-S. Kalitta 1995 Winston Finals No. 3 Runner up-B. Johnson 1996 Winternationals No. 13 Semifinals-B. Johnson 1996 Winston Finals No. 9 Semifinals-S. Kalitta 1997 Winternationals No. 10 First Round-C. Powell 1997 Winston Finals No. 1 First Round-T. Gibson 1998 Winternationals No. 6 WON-defeated J. Head 1998 Winston Finals No. 4 Semifinals-G. Scelzi 1999 Winternationals No. 6 Runner up-M. Dunn 1999 Winston Finals No. 14 First Round-M. Dunn
1999 Final NHRA Top Fuel Point Standings 1. Tony Schumacher 1,488 - - 2. Gary Scelzi 1,380 108 out 3. Joe Amato 1,345 143 out 4. Mike Dunn 1,327 161 out 5. Doug Kalitta 1,306 182 out 6. Kenny Bernstein 1,260 228 out 7. Doug Herbert 1,259 229 out 8. LARRY DIXON 1,210 278 out 9. Cory McClenathan 1,149 339 out 10. Bob Vandergriff Jr. 1,131 357 out
NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon will be making several appearances this week throughout the Southern California area where he will be meeting local drag racing fans. Below is a tentative schedule for Dixon leading up to the season-launching Winternationals;
Date Time Location Wed, 2/2 6:30-8:00 Night of Thunder, Pomona Raceway Thur, 2/3 2 p.m. Qualifying session #1
7-9 p.m. Clearmon's Northwood's Inn, Covina, Fri, 2/4 2 p.m. Qualifying session #2 Sat, 2/5 Noon & 4 Qualifying sessions #3 & #4 Sun, 2/6 11:00 am Eliminations begin