Baytown: Melanie Troxel final summary

Troxel on fire, reaches fifth consecutive final round in Houston BAYTOWN, Texas (April 2, 2006) - Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel continued her stunning streak of final-round appearances in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series by adding a...

Troxel on fire, reaches fifth consecutive final round in Houston

BAYTOWN, Texas (April 2, 2006) - Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel continued her stunning streak of final-round appearances in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series by adding a fifth, and fourth in 2006, to the list at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway.

She rolled through eliminations today from the No. 7 qualifying position, before ultimately falling to second-generation driver Brandon Bernstein in the title round. Troxel's 4.580-second pass at 323.35 mph in the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel Dragster fell just .0236 of a second short of Bernstein's 4.534/329.83.

Troxel's streak of four straight final round appearances this year has propelled her into a solid 128-point lead over Larry Dixon early in the young NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season.

The car's consistent performance today enabled Troxel to string together four strong runs, first against Alan Bradshaw, winning with a 4.570/329.42, then over Bob Vandergriff with a 4.559/326.95 and Clay Millican (4.607/315.56). Her 4.580/323.35 in the final fell in line with the previous three, but was not enough to claim the win.

Troxel battled through qualifying before claiming the No. 7 spot in a last-effort attempt to make the field Saturday evening, but that did not worry her heading into today's eliminations. "These guys just turn it around and make it happen on Sunday. We struggled in qualifying, but Richard Hogan (crew chief) and these Skull Gear guys know how to race," she said. "They know how to win on Sunday."

"The car kind of bogged down a little bit from the hit, but overall it was a clean pass," she said of the final. "We just didn't have enough for the win this time. We switched the rear-end the round before, so maybe that caught up to us. We got outrun."

Troxel is nearing here teammate Tony Schumacher's record of seven straight final-round appearances, but she's not ready to talk about it just yet. "I keep waiting to wake up from this and realize it's not real. I don't even want to begin to speculate on that, it's so far out there. It's so surreal; I can't even believe we've had five in a row."

What she will talk about is her ever-increasing lead in the points standings: "It's kind of early in the year to talk about championship points, but at the same time, it's my goal to have a shot at the championship. Every race is important, these are just as important as the races late in the year."

It was the second straight race that she and her Don Schumacher Racing teammates Angelle Sampey and Ron Capps all reached the final, but she wasn't able to join them in the winner's circle to this point. "It's a little disappointing afterwards when you see your teammates in the winner's circle. Especially when you want to be there with them to celebrate," she said. "Angelle and I have become good friends since I joined this team. It would be great to share something like that with her."

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Clay Millican , Larry Dixon , Ron Capps , Tony Schumacher , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , Alan Bradshaw , Bob Vandergriff , Don Schumacher , Angelle Sampey