R2B2 Racing leads way at FIA Finals, but not with Troxel's car

NORTHAMPTON, England (Sept. 10) -- American team owner Roger Burgess has two entries at this weekend's FIA Finals at Santa Pod Raceway in England, but it's European-based Michael Gullqvist of Sweden, not American star Melanie Troxel, who shined in Friday's lone Pro Mod session.

Gullqvist roared down England's most famous quarter mile strip of asphalt with a class-leading 6.087-second pass at 233.76 mph to pace the 22 cars that attempted a run in Round 1. Noticeably absent from the action was Troxel, who encountered some problems in the pits and was unable to answer the call for the session. Although she was later ready for Round 2, it was lost to rain, leaving her on the provisional DNQ list.

"We had a failure within the ignition system when we were warming up for our first run and we had to change a bunch of damaged parts. We just ran out of time," Troxel said. "It was good to see Michael go up there and keep the spotlight on our team. I just wish we could have joined him. There's always tomorrow.

"I feel bad that we didn't get to run Round 2 because Al (Billes, crew chief) and the rest of the guys worked so darn hard to get the car fixed. We were in the lanes ready to go. It was a $10 part that broke but it cost us just enough time."

The round lost to rain will not be made up so the pressure is on Troxel and Billes to get in the show in Saturday's final two time trials, schedule for 10:30 a.m. and 2 :30 p.m. GMT.

Her biggest challenge will likely come from Gullqvist, who won the NHRA national event in Atlanta earlier this year. Gullqvist said although his run was .056 seconds quicker than second-place Adam Flamholc, he has plenty more under the hood of his hot rod.

"We could have done more," Gullqvist said. "We wanted to make sure we got down the track with a good number because we're in such a tight points race for the championship. It's important for us to earn the FIA title for Roger to thank him for all his help this year. He's the best."

Gullqvist entered the event, the last of five on the FIA schedule, deadlocked with Johan Lindberg, who is unqualified after an aborted 11.401 at 72.98 mph.

"Hopefully tomorrow is better for both of us," Troxel added. "It would be perfect to qualify 1-2 on the sheets but right now I'll take any of the spots in the field. We'll get there."

-source: r2b2