Dixon, the three-time NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel champion, and veteran engine tuner Lee Beard, the director of operations, have been in the Houston winner’s circle many times in the past and they look forward to putting Escopeta Oil in victory lane this weekend.
"I am very excited about racing in Houston,” said Beard, a three-time winner at Houston. "Over the years I have had success in Houston. Giving a crossover driver from motorcycle racing, rookie then and now world champion, Antron Brown, his first win was certainly one of the highlights. This is the first time that the Rapisarda Racing Team has had a corporate sponsor on its car since Santo Rapisarda started racing here in the USA. Escopeta Oil is certainly a great company that represents the industry that has made Houston, the oil industry!”
Dixon, who qualified a season-best fifth Friday, pedaled his way past T. J. Zizzo in the first round of competition Sunday. The Avon, Ind., racer took a .038-second advantage off the starting line but had to feather the throttle to regain traction in a classic "pedal fest” over Zizzo, 4.878 to 4.924.
In the second round, Dixon was matched up against veteran Bob Vandergriff Jr., a first round winner over current NHRA champion Antron Brown. Larry posted a .055 second green light to Vandergriff’s .108 light and looked to be on his way to another victory. However, Vandergriff nipped Dixon by .0013 seconds at the finish line, losing by approximately seven inches. Dixon’s car clocked a 3.974 to Vandergriff’s 3.928. The hole-shot was not quite enough.Unfortunately,Escopeda Oil, along with Dupre Energy Services, saw Larry Dixon and the Rapisarda Autosport International lose by inches in the second round in Houston.
About Rapisarda Autosport International: The Rapisarda Autosport International team is dedicated to racing in memory of Louie Rapisarda, son of Santo and brother of Santo Jr. and Santino, who lost his life in 1990 in a top fuel drag racing accident at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland, Australia. The team is led by Australian crane business owner Santo Rapisarda, who started his racing career in 1965. The Top Fuel organization is based in Sydney, Australia as well as Brownsburg, Ind. Santo’s two sons, Santo Jr. and e Santino (Tino) are co-crew chiefs on the team’s dragsters in working with Lee Beard, the team’s director of operations. Rapisarda Autosport International, a five-time ANDRA series championship winning team, holds the Australia Top Fuel national record set by driver Larry Dixon at Willowbank Raceway this year at 4.50-seconds. For more information, log onto www.rapisardaracing.com.au or www.larry-dixon.com
About Escopeda Oil: Escopeta Oil, led by company president Danny Davis, is a Houston-based independent oil and gas company and has more than 30 years of experience in all aspects of leasing, drilling and operating in the energy arena. Escopeta recently became the first independent oil and gas company in U.S. history to receive the Jones Act Waiver from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Presently Escopeta is the third largest leaseholder in the Cook Inlet Basin in Alaska with 130,000 acres under lease.