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Drag Racer Dixon sues the NHRA over two-seater

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Multi-time World Champion Larry Dixon has sued the NHRA over his two-seat dragster, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. In the lawsuit, he claims he was hit with a wrongful suspension and blacklisting.

Dixon — who last competed full-time in 2015 with Bob Vandergriff Racing — believes he has been wrongfully suspended for the past two years. During this same time, he believes he was blacklisted by the governing body.

Top Fuel Dragster pilot Larry Dixon competing at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals
Larry Dixon competing at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals (Photo by the NHRA)

The lawsuit was filed on April 11 in Indianapolis, Indiana claims that he is blacklisted from “more than 140 NHRA-member racetracks,” according to the story. He believes that this has given other two-seated dragsters a ‘competitive edge’ over his operation.

“[It was] an obvious effort to use NHRA’s unfettered control over professional drag racing to control the market in which two-seater exhibition cars compete for business,” the lawsuit alleges. “[Dixon] “has now been entirely deprived of his livelihood and sole source of income by this unjustifiable suspension—which is, in effect, a lifetime ban from NHRA—unless he relinquishes an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as the future profits that he could derive from that investment.”

The three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion did not want to file the lawsuit, but he had no other options. He has been involved in the sport since 1995.

“It’s disappointing it’s had to get to this point,” Dixon told IBJ of filing the suit.

Dixon, who now owns Larry Dixon Racing, believes this lawsuit could better understand why the governing body targeted him.

“There’s a lot of it I don’t understand,” Dixon said. “This has absolutely put me out of business as a professional racer. I don’t want anybody else to have to go through something like this.”

The NHRA did not comment on the lawsuit.

Dixon raced for Don Prudhomme’s team, before moving to Al-Anabi Racing, which is owned by tuner Alan Johnson. He also worked for BVR, before forming his own team.

The dispute comes after Dixon and Nick Salamone formed Championship Adventures LLC to develop a two-seater Top Fuel Dragster. It was at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas in 2017 that changed everything.

Dixon billed the adventure as the Larry Dixon Top Fuel Experience, which was revealed as the “fastest ride in drag racing.”

The two-seat Top Fuel Dragster was billed as a “ride of a lifetime with acceleration up to 4 GS and 250 miles per hour in a 1/8th mile rule with the 62-time NHRA national event winner at the control.”

“We got huge, huge response, and literally got over 1,000 email inquiries on that car,” Dixon said to IBJ about the two-seater’s unveiling. “It went off better than I expected.”

However, while it was a hit with a lot of people, the NHRA was not one of them. An NHRA Inspector found an expired NHRA sticker on the dragster while at the SEMA show, which led to major problems for the long-time driver.

The lawsuit claims that the inspector visited the Championship Adventures booth when Dixon was not there to conduct an ‘inspection’ of the two-seater. Dixon claims that the expired sticker was because the dragster was previous commissioned to compete in the NHRA.

“No one had removed the sticker, as there was no need to remove an expired sticker when the car was not built as a competition car,” according to the complaint.

The NHRA inspector in question requested that the sticker be covered up. A person at the booth removed the sticker, which Dixon later found out about.

Following the SEMA show, Dixon reportedly received a “statement of action against participant” from the NHRA. In the letter, it alleged that he had violated terms and was suspended indefinitely.

He could not work as a driver, team owner, or crew member under the suspension. The letter claimed that the sticker “implied NHRA’s approval” on the dragster when that was not what Dixon intended for it to be.

“As you were told by NHRA officials on multiple occasions, NHRA has not and will not approve a two-seat top fuel dragster for a variety of reasons,” the notice stated. “The two-seat top fuel dragster concept presents serious safety concerns that have not been satisfied and that we do not believe can be satisfied.”

He also admitted that the suspension had ‘crushed him.’

Dixon said that he attempted to appeal the decision on numerous occasions. But he believed it was a ‘sham.’

“NHRA in its more than 66-year history has never announced that an expired sticker must be removed, nor had it ever issued a penalty for the display of an expired sticker,” Dixon’s complaint stated. “NHRA’s intent was not to protect the integrity of NHRA-sanctioned races; NHRA intended to destroy [Dixon’s] ability to compete in the markets at issue in this case.”

The lawsuit also claims that Dixon could not have counsel, or see the things that the NHRA has against him in this case.

One year ago, the NHRA claimed he could not compete as a driver or owner if he never raced the two-seat dragster ever again. They also asked him to destroy the car.

The NHRA declared “Mr. Dixon guilty of all charges, but with his suspension purportedly lifted for ‘time served’” in July 2018.

Dixon had his two-seater banned from all of the NHRA member tracks. In addition, according to the lawsuit, the governing body asked ‘others not to do business with Dixon.’

The NHRA does have two-seater experiences at their national events, and even come to their member tracks. One of them is the Doug Foley Pure Speed Racing company — which Foley sold in 2018.

“NHRA member track owners had no choice but to comply with NHRA’s request given NHRA’s monopolistic power over professional drag racing and its concomitant power over member tracks’ financial wellbeing,” the complaint stated.

Dixon claims that he has lost his source of income by not being able to compete. He believes his income will continue to be impacted until the NHRA “correct those defamatory statements.”

He is seeking damages in the lawsuit. Besides the damages, he is also asking for the NHRA to cover his attorney’s fees and a jury trial. Dixon is demanding that the governing body clear his name.

“Technically the [suspension has] been dropped, but they haven’t let anybody know that,” he said.

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Any Corrections?. You can contact Anthony Caruso III, Publisher at publisher@thecapitalsportsreport.com.

 

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About Anthony Caruso III (10209 Articles)
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report.

3 Comments on Drag Racer Dixon sues the NHRA over two-seater

  1. NHRA is dying, because of stupid issues like this. Years ago, it was about innovation, and a team’s ability to do different things. Now days, the cars of yesterday and bikes, that interested the spectators, would not even pass tech, like this twin seat car. NHRA has all their eggs in 3 baskets — Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. Those 3 are dying. Pro Mod, Outlaw Street Cars, and a different attitude toward the racers would be an improvement. Most spectators don’t like 1000′ racing, expensive cost to attend, and just plain old piss-poor leadership. But, they got the big TV deal, computer controlled race cars, and, by the way, NHRA — the stands are empty from 1/2 track on …just look, like NASCAR

  2. The NHRA had just become a shame scam pitiful outfit. If what I’m reading here is completely accurate, which I believe it is, how simple and stupid can NHRA possibly be? I mean this is way past ridiculous. When I am ready to have one’s car inspected, they’ll say so won’t they? I mean does this mean that an NHRA inspector can just walk into my shop and inspect my ride? If I have a car with an old expired ticket on it, can they say you’re ban from racing forever? I mean come on, I honestly find what I’ve just read as anything more than comical. This just cannot be right in any such way at all. CAN IT? WHAT’S GOING ON A BUNCH OF DEMOCRATS NOW RUNNING THE NHRA? GEE WIZ. I’ve always said the NHRA needed Royce Miller at it’s helm, but IHRA got him. Lucky them. IHRA is the best. I wish everyone in the NHRA would roll in over to the IHRA. Racing would be what it should be then. Honestly, if this is all the truth, I hope Larry Dixon whips NHRA out completely. Morons. Guess I’ll be next on there list for writing this. Also, put Pro Chargers in Pro Mods. What are you all afraid? Yep, you sure are.

  3. I certainly hope that Larry Dixon will be cleared of any wrongdoing. Secondly, I hope that the NHRA will have to pay out millions in damages to him. They are a dangerous entity to anyone, who doesn’t do things exactly the way they say you have to do it, and there is no appealing their decisions, even if they are dead wrong. I know several people who have expired NHRA certification stickers on their cars, and no one has ever given them any problems over it. The whole thing is just stupid, penalizing someone over a great idea!

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