Bristol: Melanie Troxel final report

Melanie Troxel Scores First Funny Car Victory In Rain Troubled Thunder Valley Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18, 2008 -- Melanie Troxel completed an incredible turnaround Sunday at Bristol Dragway, winning her first Funny Car round and ...

Melanie Troxel Scores First Funny Car Victory In Rain Troubled Thunder Valley Nationals

BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18, 2008  -- Melanie Troxel completed an incredible
turnaround Sunday at Bristol Dragway,  winning her first Funny Car round and adding
three more in succession to win the  Thunder Valley Nationals in a stunning
performance during a wet, wild and long  day.
She drove the Gotham City Racing ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T  to wins over
defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, Ashley Force, Jim Head  and fellow
category rookie driver Mike Neff in the title round.  The  milestone was the
fifth victory of her career, including four in Top Fuel.  Troxel is the 14th
NHRA driver to record wins in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and  the first woman
to do so.  Her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., also has wins in  both categories.

And, she became the second woman to win in Funny Car, two races after Ashley Force.

Troxel, who qualified for four  of her first eight races this year, looked
comfortable driving the car on each  run.  She was in control when the car was
moving around in the first two  rounds and then she showed she could finesse it
by pedaling the throttle in the  semifinal and final rounds.

The team had struggled early in the season but began getting more in sync two weeks ago at St. Louis and that carried over to this race. With crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald calling the tuning shots, Troxel took care of the rest.

She wasn't  bothered when Neff's car experienced starting-line difficulties
and when her car  shook the tires, she pedaled it and overhauled Neff as his
car's engine  expired.  The winning time was 5.066 seconds at 310.27 mph to
6.471 at  146.21 mph.
"You just try to keep your cool when he was having  problems," she said.  "
The only thing that crossed my mind at the time was  that I don't want to win
this way.  I didn't want them to shut him  off.  I was glad we were both able
to get up there and  run."

She didn't get frustrated, either, when intermittent rain earlier in the day played havoc with eliminations.

"It was  crazy out there," Troxel said after she and Pedregon twice did burn
outs only to  be shut off by rain.  "I think I was in the car five times and
did three  burnouts" before she was able to make the first run.  "I've never
seen  anything like that happen before."
By the numbers, Troxel defeated  Pedregon, 4.816 to 4.827; Ashley Force,
4.820 to 4.863; Jim Head, 5.639 to  29.548 in the semifinals.

-credit: gcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jim Head , Tony Pedregon , Ashley Force , Melanie Troxel , Mike Neff , Tommy Johnson Jr.