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MailTribune.com
  • DRAG RACING

    Local driver wins big race

    Central Point's Hix wasn't sure he'd compete again
  • Dan Hix's dragster sat in the garage for eight years before roaring back to life recently.
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  • Dan Hix's dragster sat in the garage for eight years before roaring back to life recently.
    The 38-year-old Central Point resident never let it build up too much dust — he had poured too much money into it to just to let it fade into a rusty relic — but his life seemed too busy with coaching Little League and doing basketball and dirt bikes with his two boys to get back into his speed machine.
    Plus, there just weren't many openings for his kind of racing.
    "It didn't owe me anything and there weren't any good opportunities, so I put it aside," he says.
    When a racing opportunity arose that Hix couldn't resist, he and his carefully crafted ride made the most of it. He took first in the fuel altered eliminator class during the 56th annual March Meet at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif., March 6-9.
    To make things even better, the large crowds there fell in love with the artistry on the dragster, Hix says.
    "It knocked people's socks off," he says.
    It was a week he won't soon forget.
    "It's the biggest nostalgic drag race in the world," says Hix, who is a welder and mechanic.
    Hix built the dragster "from darn near scratch" 12 years ago. It can reach 4,000 horsepower and goes over 240 mph, he says.
    Along with the dragster, Hix used to race sprint cars at Southern Oregon Speedway. His aspirations of furthering his racing career took a back seat to family though. His boys — 10-year-old Blaine and 12-year-old Donovan — kept him plenty busy. Blaine was named after a late professional drag racer, and Donovan after a racing engine.
    "More than once, I thought about it never happening," Hix says of resuming his hobby. "People would say, 'Man, why don't you get rid of it.' It's family, it's part of me. It's a really unique build. Nobody has one like mine."
    But the news of the March Meet and the inclusion of the special fuel altered eliminator was too much for Hix and his crew to ignore. With help from Mark Leigh, John Keigley, Mike Mosby, Jon Ruff, Steve Hix, Stephen Hix, Wade Hix and his wife, Karen, the dragster was back in business.
    Hix began working heavily on the dragster earlier this season and got his racing license renewed the week before the event.
    "I basically tore the car down completely and reassembled it," he says.
    The team sealed up some sponsorships and then hit the road.
    After successful qualifying and elimination rounds, Hix beat Jeremy Sullivan's Fiat with a 6.11-second, 206.16 mph mark to Sullivan's 6.21, 220.55 recording in the finals.
    Hix claimed $5,000 for the win, but that's not much in his hobby, he says. Hix has invested around $75,000 into the dragster, but expenses associated with travel and fuel make it even more costly.
    "It's ridiculously expensive," Hix says.
    But, he adds, it's definitely worth it.
    Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com. Find him online at twitter.com/danjonesmt
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