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Larry Dixon

September 18, 1939 — April 6, 2024

Plainfield

LARRY DIXON SR. (Sept. 18, 1939 to April 6, 2024)

 

Larry Dixon Sr., a Southern California drag racing legend from the 1960s to the 1980s, passed away on April 6 in Plainfield, Ind.

 

Dixon, who was born in Van Nuys, California to parents Robert and Ethyl Dixon in 1939, worked at the GM plant out of high school and began competing in local drag racing events in a ’55 Chevy working his way up to Top Fuel and at one point capturing seven consecutive races at the famed San Fernando Raceway in 1968. Dixon jumped to national prominence in 1969 by defeating legendary “Big Daddy” Don Garlits among others in the prestigious Hot Rod Magazine Championships at Riverside international Raceway in 1969 in the historic Howard Cam Rattler Top Fuel car. He continued his winning ways in 1970 by taking the Top Fuel title in the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, Calif.  After Garlits introduced the rear-engine dragster in 1971, Dixon drove his own Howard Cam Rat rear-engine car powered by a supercharged, nitro-burning Chevrolet-powered Top Fueler. Larry’s dragster was the first Chevy-powered car to break the six-second barrier and join the prestigious Cragar Five-Second Club as the seventh member.  Dixon continued to compete in national and regional Top Fuel events through the 1970s and won the Northeast Division Top Fuel points championship in 1979, driving for Larry Minor.  During and following his drag racing career, Dixon worked for various automotive companies including B&M Racing, Ken’s Automotive, Odyssey Engineering, The Blower Shop and two stints at the famed Ed Pink Racing Engines, where he worked on IndyCar engines in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, Dixon and his wife, Syd, worked at her family’s silver smithing business, Kustom Kraft. Larry also participated in numerous NHRA Reunion “Cacklefest” with restored versions of the Fireside Inn, Smirnoff and Rattler dragsters as well as his own Altered. In 2005, the Dixons moved to Indianapolis and followed Larry’s son, Larry Jr.’s drag racing career. Dixon Jr. was a three-time NHRA World Top Fuel Champion and ranks second in all-time NHRA Top Fuel national event wins (62).  In recent years, Dixon was employed at Freedom Racing Engines in Pittsboro, Ind. 

 

Dixon is survived by his wife, Syd, and her daughters, Kelly (and her children Amber and Courtney) and Tracy (husband, Tony and their children Jared and Jade), his son Larry Jr. (wife, Ali and their children, Donovan, Alanna and Darien), daughter Cathy (husband, Jeff.), his first wife Pat (and her son Steve) and sister Cherie (husband John and their children Julie, Josh and Jeremy).

 

Memorial services are set for April 18 at 4:00 pm at Center Community Church, 5938 Sugar Grove Rd., Plainfield, Ind, 46168. Friends may come one hour prior to services and a reception will follow immediately after the service.  In lieu of flowers, the family of Larry Dixon requests donations be made to the IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center for cancer research. Please make memorial gifts payable to the IUF/IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. Please indicate “In memory of Larry Dixon” on the memo line. Mail to: IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, PO Box 7072, Indianapolis, IN 46207. You may also make gifts online.at https://give.myiu.org/centers-institutes/I380009612.html .  

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