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Hixon Outstanding on Way to Open Comp Championship

Posted By: Mary Lendzion
Written by Mary Lendzion
Photos by NMCA Staff
 
There is something about John Hixon’s Buick GSX.
 
In addition to being gorgeous, the car he has competed in for more than 20 years goes fast and gets him to the winner’s circle.
 
Along the way, the color, the combination and the competitor from Illinois gather a lot of attention, and fans who were hoping to see a lot of the car in 2022 got their wish.
 
Hixon was laid off in late March after working for the same company for 15 years, but he didn’t let it defeat him. Instead, he decided to use it as an opportunity to spend more time with his family, including his wife, Mary Pat, and daughters, Morgan and Savannah, and take part in more NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp races.
 
“I've never had more than a week off in 35 years,” said Hixon. “Being able to rest and recharge while doing what I love has been incredible. I'm very grateful for how things have worked out.”
 
While Hixon missed the first two races on the 2022 NMCA tour, the NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida and the Scoggin Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by MAHLE Motorsport in April at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina, he headed to the third race, the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing presented by Fuelab in May at World Wide Technology Raceway in Illinois. In his fan-favorite car powered by a big-block Chevrolet by Beal Racing Engines pumping out about 950 horsepower and paired with a Turbo 400 by Dave Vyhanek, he qualified in the third spot with a super-quick .001 reaction time and chose a 9.74 dial. He advanced through several seriously-tough rounds of eliminations before he went -.009 red and finished as the runner-up against Scott Williams.


 
“The car count in Open Comp has increased partially due to crossover participation from other classes,” said Hixon. “Staying fresh and keeping focused was tough throughout the year.”
 
Hixon went on to qualify in the thirteenth spot with an .014 reaction time at the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA Power Festival presented by TorqStorm Superchargers in July at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Michigan. After choosing a 9.81 dial, he won three rounds, and exited eliminations in the semifinal round, which, because of heavy rain in Michigan, was completed at the NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Sick the Magazine in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio. As part of the Ohio race, he qualified in the eighteenth spot with an .013 reaction time, chose a 9.83 dial and won the third through semifinal rounds with a 9.89, 9.86, 9.93, 10.15 and 9.85. That set the stage for a final round of eliminations against Mike Winters, and Hixon hauled to the NMCA Winner’s Circle with a 9.84.
 
“The competition in Open Comp is stout,” said Hixon. “It gets tighter every year, but it's a great class and some awesome people run in it. Some will be friends for life.”
 
Ready to give it everything he had to cross the finish line in fine form at the final race of the season, Hixon qualified in the eighteenth spot with an .011 reaction time at the NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indiana. He put a 9.75 on the windows of his car, and won the first round of eliminations with a breakout time of 9.74 when his opponent had issues, and got past the second through fourth rounds of eliminations with a 9.75, 9.87 9.75. While he exited eliminations in the fifth round, Hixon’s hard work was done, and he walked away as the 2022 NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp champion.


 
“I set a goal to finish within the top 10 and somehow came out of it with the championship,” said Hixon. “It means the world to me. I never would have thought in a million years that I would earn the honor. It has been a journey, a very cool one at that, and it’s still a bit surreal. I want to thank my wife, Mary Pat, who has put up with me for 25-plus years, and my daughters, Morgan and Savannah. Their support and encouragement means everything. I also want to thank Brian David of TuffGuy Racing for countless hours of advice and general badgering, Nick McGrath and Kevin Stevens at Straightline Performance for the chassis work, Danny Pena for his carburetor magic, Hoosier Tires, RaceStar Wheels, Viking Shocks for their product sponsorship contributions, Holley, Richmond Gear, Edelbrock, Aeromotive, Moser, Mahle, VP and every contingency sponsor supporting the NMCA, as well as Steve, Rollie and the gang at ProMedia for providing an environment in which to compete at a professional level.”
 
Hixon, who has competed with the NMCA for more than 17 years, will be in the spotlight with his fellow champions at the Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals Awards Ceremony, held during the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Dec. 9, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center.
 
Please watch for upcoming stories about each of our champions on www.NMCADigital.com and www.RacePagesDigital.com as well as in Fastest Street Car magazine.


 
 
 

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