Las Vegas II: Larry Dixon preview

DIXON EYES FOURTH CAREER TOP FUEL SHOOTOUT WIN LAS VEGAS (Oct. 17, 2005) -- Being a competitor, it's only natural to set goals that you one day hope to attain. For an NHRA racer, you want to win a race. Then you hope to score wins at the storied...

DIXON EYES FOURTH CAREER TOP FUEL SHOOTOUT WIN

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 17, 2005) -- Being a competitor, it's only natural to set goals that you one day hope to attain. For an NHRA racer, you want to win a race. Then you hope to score wins at the storied events like Pomona, Gainesville, Englishtown and Indy. A Top Fuel racer wishes for the $100,000 bonus in the Top Fuel Shootout, while a Funny Car driver covets the $100K payday that comes along with the Skoal Showdown crown. And an NHRA POWERade championship is the ultimate prize for any professional drag racer.

Two-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon accomplished just about all of those goals during his Rookie of the Year campaign in 1995 en route to a third place finish in the NHRA Top Fuel standings. The second generation racer found his way to the winner's circle in just his second career start (Phoenix), won at Gainesville, Englishtown and the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, and at the final event of the season took home top prize in the Top Fuel Shootout bonus event.

"The Shootout trophies sit right next to my championship trophies," Dixon said. "My rookie year, I think the only thing we didn't do was win the championship. We won all the big races that year, Gainesville, Englishtown and Indy, and then to close out the year with a win in the Shootout made for a storybook season."

Dixon and Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's Miller Lite Top Fuel team aim to capture a fourth win at the celebrated race-within-a-race when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its final 2005 stop at Bruton Smith's The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 20-23, for the fifth annual ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals. Dixon, a four-time winner at The Strip, raced to a runner-up finish in the Shootout last year. The special bonus race for the eight best Top Fuel teams will be staged on Saturday, October 22 at The Strip. In his 10 previous Shootout appearances, the Miller Lite/Ameriquest driver has scored three wins (1995, 2001-02) in five final round outings.

"That race pays more than Indianapolis, so you'd have to say it's the biggest race of the year and the eight best cars in the class are the only ones to run in it," Dixon said. "So yeah, it's a very prestigious race."

Having advanced to the final round at Gainesville and collected wins at Englishtown and Indy, things are eerily similar to 1995 year when Dixon bested Scott Kalitta to claim his first career Shootout win at historic Pomona (Calif.) Raceway. While the bonus event is now contested at the striking Las Vegas facility, Shootout success is just as important for Dixon and the Miller Lite/Lucas Oil crew.

"I think it's a little different when you're in the middle of the points deal for the championship going into Pomona with everything going on," Dixon said. "If you're still fighting for the title and have the Shootout and the race in one weekend, that's a lot.

For me, my favorite was being part of the Funny Car team when they had the (Skoal) Showdown at Indy. You had the two biggest races of the season in one weekend. For heightened drama, that one still tops everything. It's cool being at (Las) Vegas though. Last year was the first year it was there and it certainly wasn't as big of an event was when we had it at Pomona (Calif.), but it was at Pomona for nearly 20 years and there was a lot of tradition involved with the Shootout at the Finals."

Having amassed some of the more gaudy statistics in drag racing history, the 38-time NHRA winner might just start his own Shootout at Las Vegas tradition while also achieving another career goal.

Dixon 'Does' Vegas--

What do you like most about The Strip at LVMS?

I like the layout of the place and the fact that every major form of racing in the country races there. Even though it's an elevation track, it's a good enough track that you can still see records set there.

What is your favorite memory from The Strip?

There's been a bunch of them. The most recent would be Snake's career 100th win in April.

What is your favorite Las Vegas-area restaurant?

Piero's

When you hear The Strip at LVMS, the first thing that comes to mind is?

Bruton Smith

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Scott Kalitta