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Keeping Pace

Dixon Wins NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Event in Chicago

Larry Dixon en route to an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series win at Route 66 Raceway. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)
Larry Dixon en route to an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series win at Route 66 Raceway. (Photo courtesy of NHRA)

A little rain shower couldn't stop Larry Dixon's march to a win in the United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway located just outside of Chicago, Ill.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

JOLIET, Ill. – Larry Dixon raced past defending world champion Tony Schumacher to grab the win at the rain-delayed United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Matt Hagan, Mike Edwards and LE Tonglet also won in their respective categories at the 10th of 23 events on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Dixon drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.823-second run at 323.12 mph past Schumacher to earn his fifth win of the season and 53rd of his career. It was also the sixth time this season that Dixon and Schumacher met each other during eliminations.

 “Obviously this is big,” said Dixon. “Any time you win it is huge. The last couple of times we ran in the final, he has got the best of us. It was a long day, at the same time, not as long as Friday and it was definitely worth the wait. This track is the gold standard when sun is off of it. It is awesome. And a final round under the lights is so cool. This is what I grew up on. My dad raced a bunch of times at Orange County and Lions at night. Our sport is cool at night. I wish we raced through the summer on Saturday nights.”

With his final round appearance, Schumacher was able to move from third to second in the Top Fuel point standings, just behind first-place Dixon.

            In Funny Car, Hagan not only stopped runner-up finisher Robert Hight’s current winning streak, but set the national record for time in the process. Hagan drove his DieHard Dodge Charger R/T to a 4.035 at 312.78, which was just enough to back up his semifinal time of 4.022-seconds to set the new national record and pick up those valuable 20 extra points in the process. It was also Hagan’s second career win.

“This was (crew chief) Tommy DeLago and John Medlen’s race,” said Hagan. “In the first race we won in Houston, I had to pedal the car but not here. This weekend, I had a great race car. We tested some stuff recently but they put what they know back in the race car this weekend. I told Tommy ‘That’s the race car I’m used to.’ It’s great to have that confidence and great to set the record and win the race.”

While his three-race winning streak came to an end, runner-up finisher Hight did take the points lead from team owner John Force with his final round appearance.

            In Pro Stock, Edwards continued his dominance over the class and followed up his win in Topeka with his sixth win of the season. Edwards drove his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a 6.594 at 208.49 and past runner-up Jason Line.

            “That’s what Pro Stock is all about,” said Edwards. “The first thing Jason said to me was ‘Man, you were late.’ What a great way to finish the day. We weren’t at our best today but we managed to pull off another win. It just feels great.”

            Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet held off Steve Johnson to pick up his first career win in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Tonglet rode his GT Motorsports Suzuki to a 6.935 at 190.38 to pick up his first win in just his second season of racing.

            “My emotions are so high right now,” said Tonglet. “I’ve been waiting for this day all my life. GT (Tonglet, brother) won a few times, but to have one of my own is awesome. We’re on a tight budget and this might get us through New Jersey and maybe even Norwalk.”

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.