3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon back in the saddle again, to race for Bob Vandergriff Jr.

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It’s almost a crime when a three-time champion is forced to sit on the sidelines and watch all his buddies racing except him.

That was the case for three-time National Hot Rod Association champion (2002, 2003 and 2010) Larry Dixon heading into the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

Having parted ways last July with Rapisarda Autosport International, Dixon was not picked up by another team for either the remainder of 2013 or the start of 2014.

But after the first five races of the 2014 season, Dixon will be back in the saddle in two weeks at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, Texas.

Dixon will drive a second dragster for Bob Vandergriff Jr. Racing. Vandergriff is defending Top Fuel winner at Houston.

“To say I’m thrilled to have BVR give me a shot to drive their second car would be an understatement,” Dixon said in an NHRA news release. “I appreciate the opportunity that BVR, Casedhole Solutions and Total Equipment And Service has shown me. It is a quality car with a talented group crewing on it. I’ll do everything I can on and off the track to help make this effort successful. Hopefully, an all BVR final is right around the corner.”

Dixon’s deal with Vandergriff is for a 10-race schedule over the remaining 18 races of the NHRA national event season.

“I’m excited to have Larry on board,” Vandergriff said. “He is a great driver and a family man who will fit in with our program perfectly.

“Anytime you can add a three-time champion to your program, it enhances the value proposition we are trying to build at BVR.”

Since he first earned his Top Fuel license in 1994, Dixon has won 62 races and reached the final round 108 times. He’s previously driven for Don Prudhomme, Al-Anabi Racing and Rapisarda Autosport.

Dixon’s car will be sponsored by Casedhole Solutions and Total Equipment and Service (T.E.A.S.).

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

 

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.