Dixon And Jeff Perrella
Jeff Perrella (left) and Larry Dixon. (Larry Dixon Racing photo)

Catching Up with Larry Dixon

Newer fans of drag racing have probably never heard of Jeb Allen, who won Top Fuel championships with three different sanctioning bodies – AHRA in 1977, IHRA in 1980, and NHRA in 1981.

Today, Allen remains the NHRA’s youngest competitor at 17 years and 5 months old when he broke into the pro ranks in 1971, and he’s still the youngest Top Fuel driver to win a race (1972) and a title (1981).

Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon remembers how as a teenager he watched this meteoric star of the sport. Now, Dixon is mentoring 19-year-old Cody Krohn, of Englewood, Fla., who’s poised to be the epitome of the NHRA’s desired demographic.

“He is so young,” Dixon said of Hot Rod Reunion winner Rich Krohn’s son. “He reminds me of Jeb Allen. Comes from a racing family. I don’t know – it’s just a feeling he reminds me of him.”

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Larry Dixon makes a run in his two-seat Top Fuel race car. (Larry Dixon Racing photo)

Krohn — already a two-time Top Alcohol Dragster class runner-up — is set to make his Top Fuel debut Sept. 30-Oct. 2 during the NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Following a successful Jr. Dragster career, Krohn earned licenses in Super Comp, Nostalgia Top Fuel, Top Alcohol Dragster, Nostalgia Funny Car and Top Alcohol Funny Car – all within a year.

In February, he added his Top Fuel license.

Dixon, who himself followed in his father’s footsteps and was a business-like crew-hand before getting the chance to drive, believes Krohn could be the young gun the sport is craving.

“His family is doing all the right things and hopefully that is the case,” Dixon said.

The 56-year-old Dixon is also helping advance the career of Will Smith, 33, another Jr. Dragster and Top Alcohol Dragster veteran who’s looking to make his mark in the headliner class.

Smith, of Northport, Ala., is a 2012 graduate of the University of Alabama and marketing director for the thriving Professional Drag Racers Ass’n.

He stepped up to the pro ranks during last year’s U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, ran Dixon’s car in May at Route 66 Raceway and was entered for this year’s edition of the Big Go.

These days, Dixon is content with his unique niche in the sport as tutor, part-time racer since 2016, ambassador and 2021 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee.

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Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon in his trophy room. (Larry Dixon Racing photo)

The race-shop landlord along Brownsburg, Indiana’s “Nitro Alley” is second on the list of NHRA Top Fuel winners at 62 (behind Tony Schumacher’s 86) and stands 10th on NHRA’s overall list of elimination-round wins at 678.

Although he is no longer active in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Dixon still has a presence on track.

That includes driving his nitro-burning, 10,000-horsepower, two-seater exhibition/promotional dragster known as Nitro x 2. At its inception, the dragster triggered a legal battle between Dixon and the NHRA. The dispute has been resolved, but Nitro x 2 is still banned from NHRA member tracks.

The Larry Dixon Top Fuel Experience Dragster is designed to give paying guests an exhilarating blast down the drag strip.

“This is the first year that I released a schedule on where I was taking the car, and then as people were inquiring on rides, I had all the slots filled and paid for before the start of the season. It was nice to have it sold out,” Dixon noted. “I really enjoy sharing those rides with people. You need to come to an event to see people’s expressions. It really is fulfilling to do.”