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Larry said, "Dad, I’m going to get licensed in Snake’s car!" I said, "Did Snake tell you that?" He said "No…."
Then Larry said, "Snake is taking me to Gainesville on Monday!" I said, "Did Snake tell you that?" He said "No…."
After he got licensed, I asked him, "Did you run faster than Snake?” He said, "Yes, just a little."
I still can’t believe the success Larry has had. I’m thrilled for him, but there was one rub. I remember the crash he had testing Prudhomme’s car at Famoso, where he blew a tire and rolled the car. I never felt so bad. It was so tough watching my little boy crash like that. I didn’t know what to do. I went down and asked if he was hurt. He said he wasn’t and told me, ‘dad, I did just what you told me to do: hold on and go for it.’
Question: When did you decide drag racing was for you?
Dixon Jr: I grew up with drag racing and never really went away from it. Some kids wanted to be baseball players or astronauts. I always wanted to be a racer like my dad.
Like any kid, I didn’t take all the advice my dad gave me. I didn’t do anything too bad, but I did get disciplined every once in a while. But then we would go to the track. I never really argued with my dad, but he’s much more old school than me. It was Holly carbs vs. NOS. It was fun. We have this great father-son connection.
I did get my passion for drag racing from dad. We share the same name so I feel I have a responsibility to do well. It’s a pride thing. I want to make my dad proud.
Question: What are your proudest moments in drag racing?
Dixon Sr: My son is my proudest moment. He’s so good I still don’t think I’m his real dad.
Dixon Jr: My first win and first championship were good, but my proudest moment was after I won the Winternationals in 1998. My dad had won it 18 years earlier, in ’70, and gave me his trophy. After I won, I gave him mine. It was a big moment.
My next proudest moment was when I won Indy in 2005. My dad had throat cancer and was going through radiation and chemotherapy, but came to the race anyway. I dedicated the win to him. It was pretty emotional for me. And the best news is he’s now cancer-free.