He beat cancer, broken back; now Larry Dixon ready to return to racing and winning

(Photos courtesy Larry Dixon Racing)

If there ever was a word that best describes drag racer Larry Dixon, it’s “resilient.”

Example No. 1: Last season, the three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion and second-winningest driver in Top Fuel history (62 wins) returned to full-time racing and finished fourth in the overall standings.

That, in spite of fighting throat cancer throughout the season – a battle he has since won – as well as a horrific wreck in the Gatornationals (photo below) where he had an impact of 109g and broke his T-4 and T-5 vertebrae.

Dixon Gators Crash 2015
Dixon’s horrific crash at Gainesville in 2015.

Still, despite season-long pain, Dixon mustered on in the afore-mentioned resilient fashion.

Example No. 2: Once last season ended, Dixon lost his financial backing despite his lofty fourth-place showing. For the second time, it appeared his career had hit a brick wall once again.

Not so. Dixon didn’t let adversity get the best of him. Rather, he started from scratch, building a new Top Fuel organization.

He knew it was going to take time and every penny he could raise – lots of both, that is – not to mention money out of his own pocket, but Larry Dixon Racing was born.

While he’s still working on returning to the NHRA circuit – eyeing 2017 for a hoped-for full-time comeback – Dixon proved in June that he hasn’t lost a split-second of drive, determination and, yes, resiliency.

Dixon took his Rapisarda-sponsored Top Fuel dragster on the road – all the way to Australia and the Ipswich Australian Winternationals (remember, June is winter down under) near Brisbane.

Even though Willowbank Raceway is a quarter-mile – compared to the 1,000-foot drag strips NHRA Top Fuelers and Funny Cars race upon in the United States and Canada – Dixon drove like he did in his prime.

Not only did he ultimately wind up winning the race, he also set the Australian National Elapsed Time Record to go along with the National Speed Record he had already earned (and continues to own) in a previous visit to the country.

“For the last year of my life, with cancer, a broken back and then losing my ride; everything that’s happened, winning races like we did in Australia makes all that pain go away,” Dixon said in a media release.

Larry Dixon head shot

Eight races remain on the NHRA schedule this season. The legendary U.S. Nationals are in two weeks, right in Dixon’s Brownsburg, Indiana backyard. But because he’s still searching for sponsorship, it’s uncertain whether he’ll still make any NHRA events as a competitor before the end of the season.

But that’s not stopping Dixon from amassing dragster frames, engines, trailers, superchargers and other equipment for his Top Fuel operation. If and when he gets the funding he needs, he wants to be ready to go from a performance standpoint.

“I’m finally 100 percent healthy now and I’m excited to go racing again,” Dixon said. “I’m so anxious to get in a car and get after it!

“We have put together the equipment which could be very competitive right out of the gate. There is a lot of excitement being generated in the drag racing world, especially in Top Fuel.

“With the great TV packages in place and sellout crowds, I don’t think the timing could be any better than now to show that right marketing partner what we can do on and off the track.”

Dixon, who turns 50 in October, is essentially a lifer in the drag racing world. His father was a local Top Fuel driver of renown in Southern California and won the 1970 NHRA Winternationals.

Larry started his own career first by helping his father’s racing operation, and then became a mechanic for Larry Minor and Don “Snake” Prudhomme. He excelled so much that when Prudhomme stepped out of a race car for the final time at the end of the 1994 season, he didn’t have far to look for his hand-picked successor: his protégé, Dixon.

Dixon didn’t disappoint, earning NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in 1995 and would eventually not only become a multi-champion, he’d also wind up winning the U.S. Nationals four times.

While he’d love to be racing in this year’s U.S. Nationals in two weeks, there’s always next year. But you can bet Dixon will be there as a spectator. It’s in his blood, his genes. That’s resiliency for you.

“I’ve have spent my entire life in this sport and I’m not ready to walk away just yet,” admitted Dixon. “I feel like I’m just getting started!”

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Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s