Madison: Larry Dixon preview

Dixon Eyes First Career Win at Gateway MADISON, Ill. (June 22, 2004) -- Larry Dixon has accomplished a great deal in the sport of NHRA drag racing since taking over the reigns of his Miller-backed dragster from his renowned boss Don "the ...

Dixon Eyes First Career Win at Gateway

MADISON, Ill. (June 22, 2004) -- Larry Dixon has accomplished a great deal in the sport of NHRA drag racing since taking over the reigns of his Miller-backed dragster from his renowned boss Don "the Snake" Prudhomme more than nine years ago.

The two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion has the opportunity to accomplish another milestone to add to his list of career accomplishments if he can score victories at the St. Louis and Reading, Pa. races. The Indianapolis resident has driven his Miller Lite dragster to 34 career wins and visited the winner's circle at 18 of the 20 current NHRA tracks. Only Funny Car driver John Force has won at all 20 race tracks.

"All said and done, it would be nice to accomplish someday," Dixon said. "(John) Force has been racing for a long time and he just did it this season. I'm only in my 10th season of driving. So, I don't really worry about it right now. I'm concentrating on having a race car that is capable of winning races and then the wins will come."

The 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year aims to make that 19 tracks where he has raced to a victory when the NHRA makes its annual stop at Gateway International Raceway, June 25-27, for the eighth running of the Sears Craftsman Nationals, the first of two night racing events on the 2004 NHRA schedule (Memphis, Tenn.).

"I think for the time of year that we go to St. Louis that night racing makes it a more fan-friendly event," Dixon said. "We're no different from NASCAR. Years ago, everyone used to race on Saturday nights. I went to the races with my dad and got a taste of what things were like back in the day.

"As far as motor sports go, we're the only form of racing that can offer something a lot different in the fact that you've got the flames coming out of the exhaust headers. It gives you a different perspective of things at night."

The chief concern of most race teams is that all four qualifying passes at St. Louis will take place under the lights, while the opening round of eliminations kicks off at 4:30 in the afternoon. So, the crews will head into the first round of racing without any information of what the Gateway Int'l Raceway drag strip will hold in the day's warmest temperatures.

"You probably see more upsets in the first round then you might see in the later rounds because all the runs that you've made during qualifying didn't come during the daytime," Dixon said. "At a normal race, we'll get a few runs during the day time, which is more like the race day conditions that we'll face in the first few rounds."

If Dixon can avoid the early round upset, the two-time champ might just find his way to the winner's circle Sunday evening at St. Louis and make it two straight victories as he looks to get back into the championship hunt this season.

-www.snakeracing.com-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , John Force