Bristol: Melanie Troxel preview

Troxel Getting Comfortable in ProCare Rx Dodge; Performance Improving with Each Race Her best elapsed time of the season that was No. 1 on Friday, three competitive 4.8-second qualifying runs and a second consecutive strong ...

Troxel Getting  Comfortable in ProCare Rx Dodge;
Performance Improving with Each  Race

Her best elapsed time of the season that was No. 1 on Friday, three competitive 4.8-second qualifying runs and a second consecutive strong on-track performance brought a sigh of relief to Melanie Troxel and every Gotham City Racing team member at St. Louis.

The task now at hand is to  continue building the success into round wins
and, eventually, that coveted race  victory.  Both appear to be fast-approaching.

Her next step toward achieving those goals is the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, May 16-18, at Bristol, Tenn. She was low qualifier in Top Fuel at the track in 2006, one of three in the dragster category.

"It is getting easier  every week," said Troxel, the Funny Car rookie driver
from Avon, Ind.  "We  are running well. I'm feeling more comfortable in the
car, and I'm back having  fun driving the car."
Troxel's quickest ride of 4.802 seconds in  the ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T
came in Friday qualifying at St. Louis (May 2)  and was quickest of the day.
She gave eventual race runner-up Mike Neff a  good run for the first-round win
that faltered when her car's engine expired  before the finish line.
Moreover, Troxel says, "We have made huge  gains over the last few weeks.  It
may not look like it to somebody on the  outside, but within the team we can
see that we are getting a better handle on  the tune-up.  I feel more
comfortable with every pass I make in the  car.

"We are all excited to get to Bristol to see what we can do. We know we have a competitive race car again."

The decision of Mike  Ashley, team co-owner with Roger Burgess, to drive the
Lend America/Gotham City  Racing Dodge Charger R/T for five races also had a
positive effect.  Ashley  was the qualifying surprise, vaulting into the No. 2
qualifying spot with a  4.768-second run in only his second Funny Car race of
the season.  He  recovered from an early traction problem to win his first
round before he too,  lost to Neff.

"The point of a two-car team is to get as much data as possible," Troxel said. "We weren't utilizing that car as much earlier in the year. We have both cars running similarly. "Funny car is an incredibly tough class. I knew when I switched from Top Fuel that there would be weekends we wouldn't qualify. Everybody in the top 10 last year had at least one race where they didn't qualify.

"We went  through a set of races where we didn't quite see the light at the
end of the  tunnel, but we feel a lot better now," Troxel continued.  "
Everything is  jelling really well.  This is a close group of good people and having
Mike  back in the other car is definitely a good thing for the team.  He has
that  special chemistry he brings to the team."

-credit: www.GothamCityRacing.com.

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Roger Burgess , Mike Neff