Larry Dixon (3:31 PM)
Hello everyone! I'm always glad to here from the fans .. glad to be able to talk to you all in this format! Let's go!
Hank Jones (Atlanta, Georgia)
Larry- Who is more likely to win a title this year, you or your Miller Lite buddy Rusty Wallace?
Larry Dixon (3:31 PM)
I would obviously cheer for both of us, being the selfish person that I am.
What can the NHRA do to increase its popularity among general sports fans?
Larry Dixon (3:33 PM)
I really think they need to keep working on ways to get fans to come out to the track to watch the races. From that point, people will start to watch on TV. It's really hard to get that sensation that the cars produce on TV. Being there live is a must for the beginner fan, I believe.
If you could change one thing about the series (points? sked? etc.), what would it be?
Larry Dixon (3:34 PM)
Not to sound like a suck-up, but I really think the NHRA is doing things for the future and I really like what they are doing. One thing I wouldn't mind seeing would be a two day format where we get 2-3 qualifying runs on Saturday and race on Sunday.
I think the NHRA should set up a multi-category all star showdown, somehow pitting TF, PS, PSB and FC drivers against each other. What do you think?
Larry Dixon (3:35 PM)
That would be kind of neat, kind of like our own IROC series! If they could do it, I would be in. That would be neat.
James Tuggle Buford, GA
With Safety coming to the forefront of racing in the past few years, have either of you drivers Worn the HANS Device? Do you think it will hinder your ability to concentrate at the lights? Thanks for your replies.
Larry Dixon (3:36 PM)
I've been wearing it since February, 2001. I would say no to it hindring me.
Tony Pedregon (3:39 PM)
I don't think it's a hinderance. I think it's something a driver just has to be accustomed to using. It may not be as comfortable. I'm considered using it. I used it once. If I drove a Top Fuel car, without a doubt I would use it. But in a funny car, our challenge is on impact, we have a rear tire as protection, unlike Top Fuel. I weighed out the risk of fire vs. the risk of going into the wall and havinga heavy impact. But bottom line, we've actually installed a halo system, another safety feature that will protect us. It's mounted to the roll cage. As of now, I just have not seen a big enough benefit to using the HANS.
Tony- I know you and Cruz had wanted to team up for a while. Why did it take so long -- what were the obstacles?
Tony Pedregon (3:41 PM)
There weren't really any obstacles. To me, long term it is something you'd like to do when your younger, but truthfully, I didn't plan on leavign John's team until a year and a half ago. I felt I had a lot of restsrictions. The only alternative was I no longer to drive for someone. The natural step for me was to do it on my own. To do it with Cruz was just icing on the cake.
Dan Allum (Lodi, CA)
Larry - Do you plan on having any special paint schemes on your car for the 2004 season?
Larry Dixon (3:42 PM)
Not to break the story here, but Miller Brewing Company is coming out with a commerative can for this month and next month that will have myself and Rusty on it. We are going to end up doing something with that during the month of March.
Tony- Heading into last year, did you really think Force's championship streak could be broken? How confident were you in your ability to beat your boss?
Tony Pedregon (3:44 PM)
I really wasn't that confident until I crossed the finish line in Vegas. I think because of my experience the previous year, I didn't want to be overconfident. I always felt John was a threat up until the second to last race.
Tony- Do you expect to be able to compete for a title this year while trying to get your new team going? Also, how important of a role will your brother Cruz play in your own success this year? Thanks!
Tony Pedregon (3:45 PM)
Yes, I have every expectation to be competitive, but not in an overconfident way. I think this year will be more competitive than ever. I have good support and good backing from Quaker State. Cruz will play a very important role in the overall function of the team because we will be competing with several other multi-car teams. Cruz and I will share all our info and that will help both of us.
Larry, Do you think Brandon Bernstein would have given you a good run for the title last year had he not gotten hurt?
Larry Dixon (3:47 PM)
I certainly think that he would have been in the thick of things. But, I don't know that Brandon would have drove better than his dad and his dad finished the season. If you add both their points together, they came up second.
Heidi, University Heights, OH
Either of you... What's the most fun thing you did during the off-season?
Larry Dixon (3:47 PM)
I went to Hawaii with my family and I bleached my hair while I was there!
Tony Pedregon (3:48 PM)
The fun was minimal! I had to form a team in a period of less than two months. So I've postponed the fun until the end of this next season.
Dan Allum (Lodi, CA)
Tony - Will you be getting/running any Monte Carlo bodies and do you think they will make a difference?
Tony Pedregon (3:49 PM)
Yes. Aerodynamically they are a big improvement over the Camaro. We hopefully will debut the car right before or right after the Gator Nationals. It will also enhance the car's performance. Don't know how much yet though.
Dave, Charlotte, NC
Larry - Does winning ever get old or boring? What's next for you guys?
Larry Dixon (3:50 PM)
Never! Tony said losing does get old! If you are out there and they are giving away trophies and money, that is what every team wants to do. That is what we are there to do.
Jess -- Charlotte
Who is your biggest rival/competition for repeating as champion?
Larry Dixon (3:51 PM)
I hate to pick just one. Bernstein and the Kalitta team and the Schumachers.
Red -- Chicago
Tony, Is there anything you can take from the way John Force ran the team and apply it to your own team?
Tony Pedregon (3:52 PM)
Sure. Mostly experience and knowledge. I don't intend on trying to duplicate what he did. I have my own way I would like to build a team and manage a team. I'd like to equal the results. For me, that's the challenge, to continue to find out how to win.
Tony- Is your relationship w/John Force still good? He's made comments about not being happy that you left, but it's impossible to ever tell if he's joking!
Tony Pedregon (3:54 PM)
I left because John made several business decisions that didn't benefit me. And, John was upportive of my decision and I think he understood it better than anyone else. And yes, the relationship is good today.
Jimmy (New Orleans)
What are your favorite movies and TV shows?
Larry Dixon (3:55 PM)
Thursday Night Hockey! Every movie I've seen is rated G. I've got a 1 and a half year old and a three year old.
Tony Pedregon (3:55 PM)
I like Clint Eastwood movies .. Dirty Harry!
Aaron, Akron, OH
Tony - Would there ever be a chance of Frank's joining you and Cruz on the team?
Tony Pedregon (3:56 PM)
Fan access at NHRA events is awesome! Do you see that changing as the sport continues to grow?
Tony Pedregon (3:57 PM)
It seems like that is one of the things NHRA has always had to offer. I think they realize it makes drag racing unique and it's one of the areas they will continue to accomdate the spectator.
Larry -- Who is a better racer, you or Scott Dixon?!
Larry Dixon (3:58 PM)
What do you think I'm going to say?
TERRY LARGO FLA.
WHAT DO EACH OF YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
Larry Dixon (3:59 PM)
Change diapers and help out around the house.
Tony Pedregon (4:00 PM)
I have a 4 year old daughter. The spare time I do have left I enjoy spending time with her. I still enjoy designing and painting helmets.
Would either of you like to run IROC?
Tony Pedregon (4:01 PM)
Given the opportunity, sure. It seems like there is more interest now than there has been in the past. There are a lot of talented drivers that are more than capable, they just haven't been given the opportunity yet.
How long do each of you envision driving? Larry, would you consider owning a team at some point?
Larry Dixon (4:03 PM)
I'd like to race for at least 10 more years. At the right time, I would certainly love and want to own my own team.
Larry Dixon (4:03 PM)
But only when the time is right and I don't have any plans in the near future to leave Don Prudhomme Racing.
Jerry : Sonoma, CA
Do you both feel being 2nd generation drivers has been a help or hinderance in your careers??
Tony Pedregon (4:04 PM)
It's helped. In terms of it educated me on the sport and mechanically and if you understand the mechanics of a car, it helps you to be a better driver.
Tony Pedregon (4:06 PM)
Thanks for the questions .. make sure to tune in to ESPN2 and catch all the NHRA action .. we are in for an exciting year in drag racing!
Larry Dixon (4:07 PM)
Thanks for showing support for drag racing .. I hope I answered most of your questions. If not, log onto larrydixon.com! I'd be happy to fill in the blanks! Take care!