Larry Dixon takes Top Fuel title

POMONA, Calif. -- Larry Dixon clinched his third NHRA Top Fuel championship with a first-round win Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.

Dixon's win ended a six-year reign at the top by Tony Schumacher, who had won every Top Fuel title since 2004. Dixon was the last man other than Schumacher to win the championship.

"That was so long ago I can't remember it," Dixon said of his 2003 championship. 'I've never had such a welcoming for a first-round win. I feel very honored to be driving this car."

Schumacher entered the race will a slim chance of winning the title, but he needed to win the race, set a national record and have Dixon lose in the first round. Dixon easily defeated Mike Strasburg in the opening round.

Dixon won the title in the Al-Anabi dragster with Schumacher's former crew chief, Alan Johnson, and Schumacher's former crew.

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com.