Johnson and Troxel to compete at Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Dec. 15) -- The first couple of drag racing, Tommy Johnson Jr. and his wife Melanie Troxel, will test their mettle on legendary Mount Van Hoevenberg, Jan. 8-10, during the fifth annual Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen.

Johnson and Troxel join Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. as members of Team NHRA. As such, they will try their best to take home bobsledding glory for the straight-liners in the annual winter match-up against Team NASCAR, led by legend Geoff Bodine and newly-crowned Rookie of the Year Joey Logano.

"We're both really excited that our schedules finally lined up right for us to compete," Troxel said. "We've known Geoff for a long time and every year he invites us up but until now we've never had the chance. We can't wait to get up there and give it a try.

"I've heard lots of stories about bobsledding. Of course the one everyone seems to like telling me is the one about Bob Vandergriff turning his sled over near the top of the course and going down on his head. I'm really hoping to avoid that bit of excitement. I plan to pick Morgan and the other guy's brains about how to do this. It sounds pretty crazy but also very fun."

The Lucas Oil Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge presented by Whelen raises money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, a collaborative effort between Bodine and Chassis Dynamics to make the best bobsleds in the world for U.S. athletes. Since the start of the project, USA Bobsledders have gone from also-rans to top contenders on the world stage that routinely wins medals at the world championships and the Olympics.

For the past four years, the Challenge has pitted a team of NASCAR drivers against a group of NHRA pros. There are two events held over the weekend. The first features all of the participating drivers racing against the clock, regardless of their racing affiliation. The second lines up the best NHRA drivers against the top NASCAR pros.

"It's going to be pretty special meeting all of our Olympians and it's quite an honor to help their cause along," Troxel said. "Geoff was telling us about all the medals Team USA has been winning and with the Vancouver Games just around the corner I'm sure there will be an extra feeling of excitement in the air."

Named Sportswoman of the Year by the Billie Jean King Foundation in 2006, Troxel is the only female driver with victories in Top Fuel and Funny Car, the top two classes of NHRA competition. Recognized as the quickest and fastest female in NHRA history, Troxel currently drives the R2B2 Pro Mod car for team owner Roger Burgess.

A veteran of nitro racing, Johnson also has recorded wins in Top Fuel and Funny Car, one of just 14 drivers in the 58-year history of the sport to do so. Over his illustrious career, Johnson has driven for legends like Joe Gibbs, Don "the Snake" Prudhomme, and Kenny Bernstein, among others. His globetrotting 2010 racing plans will be officially announced in the coming weeks.

-credit: bbp