Larry Dixon outlasted Antron Brown in a thrilling pedal-fest in the Top Fuel final at the 23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals Sunday at Houston Raceway Park to win for the second time this season and the 50th time in his career.
The other winners at the fifth event in the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series were Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). The win in the Al-Anabi dragster – a 4.541sec pass at 222.36mph to Brown's 4.638 at 173.32 – moved Dixon into eighth place on the all-time NHRA Full Throttle Series wins list, breaking a tie with former team owner and NHRA legend Don “The Snake” Prudhomme.
“That's more than I thought I'd ever do in my lifetime…and I'm not done living yet,” said Dixon, who proceeded to dedicate the win to his three-year old son Darien who was hospitalized earlier in the week with a bacterial infection. “He's a tough, tough kid. He wanted us to win this race for him and we did. We're going to bring this trophy home to him.”
Dixon moved into second place in the point standings and he's within 28 of Cory McClenathan, whom he defeated in the semifinals.
Technically, Dixon also broke a tie with Jeg Coughlin (6.599 at 210.77), who moments earlier collected his 49th career Pro Stock win over Allen Johnson (6.596 at 210.77). Coughlin took victory No. 49 in his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt on a holeshot, using a 21-hundredths edge on the starting line to build a lead over Johnson's Team Mopar Dodge Avenger that he never relinquished.
“This is a special place to me,” said Coughlin, who won his first career Pro Stock race here in 1997 and his first career Super Stock race here in 1994.
In Funny Car, 2009 Rookie of the Year contender Hagan collected his first career win with a 4.390sec pass at 247.57mph in his Don Schumacher Racing-run DieHard Dodge Charger to runner-up Jeff Arend's 4.714 at 231.20 in the DHL Toyota Camry of Kalitta Racing.
“Other than my wife and kids, this is the best feeling in the world,” said Hagan, whose breakthrough came in his 33rd career race and third career final round. “Thank God we got it today. That's the first hurdle you have to go over to win a championship.”
With the win, Hagan passed teammate Jack Beckman and Ron Capps in the standings and he's within 70 points of first-place John Force, who spun his tires in a first-round loss to No. 16 qualifier Tony Pedregon.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, three-time champion Hines won for the first time in 2010 aboard his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson with a 6.998sec pass at 196.02 that was just icing on the cake as defending Series champion and current points leader Hector Arana fouled. Hines moved up from 10th place in the standings all the way to fourth and he's just 70 points shy of Arana.
“To get the race win and all those points is a breath of fresh air for this team,” said Hines, who became the first Harley rider to win a Wally at Houston Raceway Park in the 23-year history of the event. "To win a Wally here in Houston is sweet.”
The NHRA Full Throttle Series resumes racing this upcoming weekend with the 11th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.