Friday, June 26, 2009
NHRA's Larry Dixon on the rise
National Hot Rod Assn. top fuel driver Larry Dixon has won two of the past three events and has moved within shouting distance of Antron Brown, the leader in the top fuel standings.
With Dixon obviously on the rise, and reigning top fuel champion Tony Schumacher slipping a bit, it might be the end of the line for one of the more impressive runs in motor sports. Schumacher has been almost unbeatable for at least the past two seasons. Now it looks like Dixon and Brown will give Schumacher a challenge for the top fuel crown.
Dixon has been the hottest of the three drivers in recent weeks. He is coming off a win at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey, his third of the season. He has advanced to the semifinals in three straight events. He has been to the semifinals in six of the 11 events so far this year.
His past three races have been the most impressive of the season.
“That three-race swing, I think we out-pointed everybody with two wins and a semifinal,” Dixon a Van Nuys High graduate and driver for Al-Anabi Racing. “We went from sixth to third, and it was a great run.”
Dixon is third in the top fuel standings, 97 points behind Brown. Schumacher is second, 34 points out of first.
Dixon said his team tested the car after the races at Bristol Dragway in Tennessee. After that, Dixon won at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas and made it to the semifinals at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois before winning again in New Jersey.
“For me, it feels like we have less pressure on us now,” Dixon said. “Everybody on our team wants and expects to do well. We all have a past now; we’ve gone to 11 races together, and it’s more enjoyable going rounds and knowing the car is running well and I’m driving well. All of that takes pressure off of us; now you just have to go out there and do your thing.”
The next race for Dixon and the NHRA top fuel drivers is at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Dixon’s string of semifinal appearances will be put to the test this weekend. He has never won at Norwalk in the top fuel division.
Photo: Larry Dixon is in search of his fourth NHRA top fuel win of the season this weekend at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. He has won two of the past three top fuel events, including the most recent at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey.