“You hope that some of the stuff you’ve learned over the years is knowledge you’re able to pass along,” Dixon said. “Even then, though, it sometimes ends up being just a driver’s race and you just hope you can bring enough to the table.
“I know our team has invested a lot to improve the performance of the car, and they’re going quicker and faster than they have ever gone. We’re very proud of that.”
Even so, Dixon is used to being mentioned among the top contenders at every event and in the championship hunt. Dixon, though, remains thankful for the opportunity to compete in 2013 and a potential strong performance in Norwalk could be the springboard the team needs.
“It’s definitely nice to be back behind the wheel,” said Dixon, who won championships in 2002, 2003 and 2010. “I’ve always loved racing and loved driving, and getting the opportunity to get back in the car is nice. I’m certainly enjoying it and trying to build things up to where we can go to more races.
“Racing in Norwalk, the Bader family always makes you feel so welcome and I really like that. It makes you feel good when there’s so many fans there supporting you.”
Those in attendance at Summit Motorsports Park will also watch the continuation of the tight points battle in Top Fuel with recent Chicago winner Tony Schumacher leading the points standings and three-time season winner Shawn Langdon lurking close behind in second. Massey, Antron Brown, Bob Vandergriff and Steve Torrence have all won events this season and will be looking to add another win to the ledger, and other top contenders include Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein, and Chicago runner-up Clay Millican.
In Funny Car, racers will continue their battle for the top points position, currently held by Chicago winner Matt Hagan, but which multiple drivers — including Johnny Gray, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon — have also occupied this season. John Force and his daughter Courtney have both won races, and the elder Force, who has yet to win at Norwalk during his prestigious career, is riding a three-race final round streak and has surged from 10th to third in the series standings in the last three weeks. Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham and 2012 world champion Jack Beckman also will be searching for a victory in Ohio in the tightly-competitive class.
Pro Stock continues to be an ultra-competitive category featuring points leader Mike Edwards, who has three victories this season, and 2012 Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson, who recently picked up his third win of the season as well. Ohio native Jeg Coughlin, who won last weekend in Chicago to move to second in the standings, and Shane Gray, who is poised to win his first race of the season, are also top contenders, along with Vincent Nobile, and the Summit Racing Equipment team of Jason Line and Greg Anderson.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle category has featured outstanding racing all season with a field that is separated by thousandths of a second. With three wins and the points lead, Hector Arana Jr. will be looking to hold off a tough field of competitors that includes first-time event winner John Hall, two-time season winner Michael Ray, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Sr.