Larry Dixon was knocked out in the second round of the National Hot Rod Assn. top fuel races at Pacific Raceways near Seattle on Sunday. But he left as one of three top fuel drivers who have clinched a spot in the Countdown to One playoffs.
Dixon, a Van Nuys High graduate, Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown, the leader in the top fuel standings are in the Countdown. The top-10 drivers in the top fuel standings will qualify for the playoffs.
“The consolation prize that came out of Seattle is that we clinched a spot on the playoffs,” said Dixon, who drives for Al-Anabi Racing. “We all thought we’d be there, but knowing you have a spot is much nicer. Now it’s all about getting in the best position we can for the playoffs to help our championship effort. First place is not out of the question, but right now, it’s pretty far out of sight. Antron’s team really opened up a big lead on us in the last couple of races so we just have to go out there, do our best, try to win some races and see where we end up.”
Brown won the top fuel races at Seattle and at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado and can complete the Western Swing sweep if he wins the races at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma.
He has a 137-point lead over Shumacher. Dixon is in third in the top fuel standings.
Last year, Dixon lost to Brown in the second round of the races at Sonoma. Dixon won the Sonoma race in 2003.
“The best way to make up points is win races, so we’ll be trying to do that this week,” Dixon said. “Antron will be trying to complete the sweep, but there will be 15 other cars trying to prevent the sweep; we’re one of them.”
Photo: Larry Dixon earned a spot in the NHRA Countdown to One playoffs at Pacific Raceways near Seattle on Sunday.