Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon will make his Top Alcohol Funny Car debut in Tony and Michael Bartone’s Hussey Performance-sponsored car at the 11th Annual Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser, May 19-21 at Summit Motorsports Park. The event is part of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for Division 3.
"When I saw the car at McKinney Corp., I asked the chassis builder about it and he said it's a really good car but that Tony, who drives it, was having back trouble and was looking for a driver because he loves the sport and wants to be involved in it," said Dixon, who has known the Bartones for 20 years. "I gave Tony a call, and he said they were planning to run the Charlotte NHRA race in late April with Sean Bellemeur driving, and that they would stay a day later so that I could get in the car, make some laps, try to get a license and see how it goes."
With that mission accomplished, Bartone invited Dixon to drive his car at the Cavalcade of Stars event.
"The Bartones could have their pick of people to drive their car, and I really appreciate that they're letting me drive it, especially considering I have good credentials in Top Fuel, but none in Top Alcohol Funny Car," said Dixon, with a laugh.
When asked about the difference between piloting the Top Fuel Dragster and the Top Alcohol Funny Car, Dixon was quick to mention line of sight, and likened the Top Fuel dragster experience to sitting in the front row of a movie theater and the Top Alcohol Funny Car experience to sitting in the back row behind a basketball team.
"The two cars are very different, and the learning curve is very steep," said Dixon. "For example, I'm used to driving with a centrifugal clutch, and in this car, I'll be driving with a pedal stop clutch, which is similar to a stick-shifted manual transmission. In my Top Fuel dragster, I didn't shift when the light went green, but in this car, I'll be shifting twice. I'm very much a rookie in this car, but it will have my full attention and my respect, and I'll be in good hands with the Bartones and their crew chief, Steve Boggs."