Pomona: Dixon Dispatch Pomona preview edition

The Dixon Dispatch Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster After 20 Year Hiatus, Return Of Night Racing To Pomona This Weekend Seems Like Old Times For Larry Dixon & Snake Racing POMONA, CA (July 2) - Eight foot header ...

The Dixon Dispatch
Weekly News Release of Larry Dixon & the Miller Lite Dragster

After 20 Year Hiatus, Return Of Night Racing To Pomona This Weekend Seems Like Old Times For Larry Dixon & Snake Racing

POMONA, CA (July 2) - Eight foot header flames will be lighting up the Southern California skies for the first time in 20 years when the NHRA celebrates 50 years of drag racing with the Pep Boys 50th Anniversary Nationals this weekend at Pomona Raceway (July 5-7). For many spectators it will be the first time they have seen the fiery orange blasts shooting from the engines of the 6,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars, but for Miller Lite Dragster driver Larry Dixon, it will be like a homecoming.

Dixon, who is currently in his seventh year as a professional driver for Don Prudhomme Racing, basically grew up at the quarter-mile drag strips of So Cal. Almost before he could walk, Dixon and family were at the races cheering on his father Larry Sr. who drove Top Fuel cars in the late 1960s and 70s. In fact, some of his fondest memories as a child have come at the races.

Although he was barely old enough to remember it, a 4-year-old Larry Jr. celebrated at Pomona just minutes after his father won the 1970 NHRA Winternationals. "There's a picture I have with my dad holding me in the winner's circle at Pomona and I always thought that was the neatest thing," said Dixon. "To be able to win a major race like that and share it with your family is pretty special. I always wondered what it would be like to do that as a driver and I hoped I would get the chance someday."

Dixon did get his chance on Father's Day (June 17) when he celebrated his first career win at Columbus, the 12th of his career, and stood proudly with his wife Ali and seven-month-old son Donovan in the spotlight. "Winning on Father's Day was very cool," said Dixon. "You look back at that stuff that I did with my dad over 30 years ago and now I get to do the same things with my son. We took pictures that day at Columbus and I got to hold my boy and my trophy at a major race and it was cool. NHRA and drag racing has been real good to my family and I am just happy to be a part of it."

The NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series has played a significant role in Dixon's life in more ways than one. It basically dictated his lifestyle as a child and influenced the career path he would take as a grown man.

"As a kid, I used to travel all over watching my dad race," said Dixon. "Some kids' families took vacations to Disneyland and places like that. Well for us, we would follow my dad to places like Phoenix, Columbus and Indianapolis and that was our summer vacation. And when we were in school, we would watch my dad race at local tracks like Orange County, Lions (Long Beach) and Palmdale. I was raised on drag racing and I always knew that's what I wanted to do."

Certainly a lot has changed since the last time Dixon watched the night races at Pomona over two decades ago. Not only has he turned from spectator to driver, but now he can afford to pay for tickets. "I remember one time I went to Pomona with a bunch of friends to watch the night races and we didn't have enough money to get in," said Dixon. "Well, we snuck through the wash and popped up in the pit area just so we could see the race."

Dixon comes into this weekend's race ranked second in the Top Fuel points race, just 80 points behind current leader and chief rival Kenny Bernstein. He has won two races by the season's half way mark (Gainesville, Florida and Columbus) and even held the points lead after the Bristol, Tennessee event. He has also emerged as one of the brightest stars of the Top Fuel class as he has finished among the Top 10 points leaders every season behind the wheel, including a career-best-tying third place finish in 2000.

In spite of his many successes that include a win here at Pomona at the 1998 Winternationals, Dixon, who recently relocated to Indianapolis, still bristles at the idea of racing at his old hometown track. "I have always been a huge fan of night racing whether it's on Saturday or Sunday night. Those cars making all that power with flames shooting out of them, that's been the one thing that separates drag racing from the other forms of motor sports. You can't find it anywhere else." <pre> Larry Dixon's 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 2000 Winternationals No. 3 Semifinals-G. Scelzi 2000 Winston Finals No. 8 Second round-M. Dunn 2001 Winternationals No. 3 Semifinals-M. Dunn

2001 NHRA Winston Top Fuel Point Standings

1. Kenny Bernstein 1051   n/a
2. LARRY DIXON    971   80 out
3. Doug Kalitta 862   189 out
4. Mike Dunn    848   203 out
5. Darrell Russell 786   265 out
6. Gary Scelzi    747   304 out
7. Tony Schumacher 638   413 out
8. Doug Herbert 567   484 out
9. David Grubnic 490   561 out
10. Rhonda Hartman 441   610 out

Pomona Night Racing Modified Schedule

Below is the altered Thursday-Friday-Saturday schedule for this weekend's Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary race, including qualifying & elimination times for Top Fuel.

Date & Time         Location
Thur, 7/5 245-600p  Qualifying sessions #1 & #2
Fri, 7/6  445-800p  Qualifying sessions #3 & #4
Sat, 7/7  400p      Eliminations begin

NHRA on Television This Weekend

Date & Time (ET)    Network     Coverage
July 6, 730-830p    ESPN 2      Qualifying
July 7, 10p-1a      ESPN 2      Eliminations


Career rounds    2001 rounds      Final rounds
188-122 (.599)    27-10 (.730)    12-16 (.429)
314 career laps   37 season laps  28 career finals


RACE QUAL. POSITION FINISH Pomona No. 3 (3) Semis - Dunn Phoenix No. 2 (2) 2nd Rd. - Kalitta Gainesville No. 2 (5) WINNER - over Scelzi Houston No. 2 (4) Runner up - Dunn Las Vegas No. 9 (2) 2nd Rd. - Bernstein Bristol No. 3 (3) Semis - Kalitta Atlanta No. 3 (3) Semis - Dunn Englishtown No. 3 (3) Semis - Kalitta Topeka No. 7 (4) Runner up - Bernstein Joliet No. 2 (3) Semis - Scelzi Columbus No. 2 (5) WINNER - over Russell St. Louis No. 2 (2) 2nd Rd. - Schumacher

Average Qual. Position 3.33 Average Finish 3.25 (semis)


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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , David Grubnic