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

 

How Hamilton, Mercedes can clinch F1 titles at the United States GP

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Sunday’s United States Grand Prix could go down as a memorable race in Formula 1 history as both Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes bid to clinch their fourth world championships (live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET).

Hamilton gave his chances of wrapping up the drivers’ title and re-claiming the crown he lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 a world of good by charging to pole position on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas.

However, with chief rival Sebastian Vettel starting second for Ferrari and a 16-point swing required, it seems likely that the title race could continue to next weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

Nevertheless, here are the permutations for Lewis Hamilton to win his fourth F1 world title on Sunday in Austin, Texas.

  • If Lewis Hamilton wins the race (25 points) and Sebastian Vettel finishes sixth or lower (maximum eight points), he is world champion.
  • If Hamilton finishes second (18 points), Sebastian Vettel finishes ninth or lower (maximum two points), and Valtteri Bottas does not win the race, he is world champion.

While Hamilton’s coronation seems likely to be postponed until the next race in Mexico, Mercedes looks nailed-on to wrap up its fourth consecutive constructors’ championship in Sunday’s USGP.

The German marque currently leads Ferrari by 145 points in the teams’ standings, and requires a lead of 129 after the race to clinch the crown.

As a result, a double top-four finish from Hamilton and Bottas would be enough for Mercedes to wrap up the title, regardless of how Ferrari fares.

The success would see Mercedes become just the fourth team in F1 history take four straight constructors’ titles, following Red Bull (2010 to 2013), Ferrari (1999 to 2004) and McLaren (1988 to 1991).

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.