A REJUVENATED DIXON AMPED TO KICK-OFF 2006 NHRA SEASON POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2006) -- For racers like two-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon, the winter months are a necessary evil for those involved in the NHRA drag racing scene. While you...
A REJUVENATED DIXON AMPED TO KICK-OFF 2006 NHRA SEASON
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2006) -- For racers like two-time Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon, the winter months are a necessary evil for those involved in the NHRA drag racing scene. While you miss being at the track and doing what you love, some personal time with the family and some time to recover and refresh for the upcoming 10-month NHRA grind is a welcome break from the 330-mph world that overwhelms your life for the majority of the year.
Dixon, the third winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history with 38 career victories, raced his Miller Lite dragster to three victories and a second place finish in the Top Fuel ranks one season ago. With Don Bender now calling the shots on Don Prudhomme's dragster, the Miller-backed team spent the past three weekends testing in preparation for the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season as hopes of a third NHRA crown is at the forefront of Dixon's thoughts.
"I'm excited to get the season going," Dixon said. "I'm lucky enough to be a person that absolutely loves what I do for a living. When I go back to work, it's cool for me. The winter is long enough to sort things out on the home front and then dive back in on the racing schedule. I'm looking forward to getting things going for real this weekend."
After spending much of the past three weeks testing tires and new parts and pieces on his 330-mph dragster, Dixon and the Miller Lite Top Fuel team are eager to hit the track when it counts as the 2006 season opens, Feb. 9-12, with the 46th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
"I was thrilled that we had the opportunity to do the three separate tests," Dixon said. "I think that it worked well on all fronts for us. The crew got to work on their routine. Donnie (Bender) could sort out the tuning decisions on his own, and he got to try quite a few different pieces on the car. Overall, I think it went great. We didn't throw any hero numbers on the board, but none of those count when you roll into Pomona this week. I think we got everything done that we wanted to. Now we'll see how we rate for real."
Last season, the three-time Winternationals winner (1998, 2002-03) blasted the Miller Lite dragster to a career-best elapsed time (4.481 seconds) at the '05 season-opener. Now in his 12th season behind the wheel of Prudhomme's dragster, the California native knows how tough the competition is in the Top Fuel category and that if you want to go rounds and compete for wins, a strong, consistent tune-up is vital.
"I'm not much of a bragger, I let the car do the talking for me," Dixon said. "I think that we have a pretty good shot at having a top four or five car, but at the same time (Connie) Kalitta has three really good cars, and (Don) Schumacher has two, so there's five spots right there. We're going to have to run better than them to be in the mix. Throw in quite a few other cars like (Brandon) Bernstein, Cory (McClenathan), (Doug) Herbert and Morgan (Lucas), and it might be hard to qualify in the top 10, but we're going to try and qualify in the top four or five each week."
While the calendar still calls it winter, the sunny and warm 70-degree So Cal temperatures will prove otherwise. And as winter months pass by like a 330-mph Top Fuel dragster, there's no better way to kick-off the 2006 racing season than with a little nitromethane and some long, smoky burnouts with the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains serving as a scenic backdrop.