TROXEL SETS NEW PERSONAL MARK, QUALIFIES NO. 2 IN TEXAS DALLAS (Oct. 8, 2005) - It is gearing up to be an extremely successful weekend for Melanie Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster team. On Friday night she set ...
TROXEL SETS NEW PERSONAL MARK, QUALIFIES NO. 2 IN TEXAS
DALLAS (Oct. 8, 2005) - It is gearing up to be an extremely successful weekend for Melanie Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster team. On Friday night she set career-bests in elapsed-time and speed. She officially became the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history, and she heads into Sunday's O'Reilly Fall NHRA Nationals eliminations in a strong position to win from the No. 2 qualifying spot - the highest of her career.
Colorado native Troxel set her career-best speed of 330.31 mph (4.529 ET) in Friday's first session, then recorded her career-best elapsed time of 4.458 seconds (328.86 mph) in the cooler evening round. Saturday's warmer and sunnier conditions produced first a tire-smoking 6.754/116.88, followed by a session-best 4.513/325.61 in the final session.
"We're feeling really confident with how the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels car is running," said Troxel, who was runner-up here in 2000 when she first drove for Don Schumacher Racing. "Not only did we go out and run that 4.458 pass, but to run a 4.513 in the heat of the day makes us feel real good going into tomorrow."
Some of her confidence comes from having achieved her highest qualifying position of the season. "It's so hard to get past first round when you are running No. 8 or 9," she added. "It's always a close race when you're eighth or ninth, and you're the first pair out. A lot can be said about qualifying well and having a few easier rounds, in theory. Not that it always works out that well."
She's still reeling from the great numbers she and the team, led by crew chief Richard Hogan, recorded. "It hasn't quite hit me yet. I know I've said it before, but as much as we've struggled with getting a car that will run straight down the track and is easy to drive, I'm just as happy with that as with running the big numbers.
"My absolute number-one goal is to go out and win a race this year. I know everyone on the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels team is putting in the extra effort to give us that opportunity. Hopefully we can go out tomorrow and turn that great qualifying effort into our first win."
Troxel faces Scott Weis in the first round of Sunday's final eliminations.
Note: With her strong effort here, Troxel (unofficially until first round on Sunday) qualified 14th in points for the $100,000 Budweiser Shootout Top Fuel bonus race to be held in Las Vegas later this month. She is eligible to draw for the eighth Wild Card position along with eight other drivers who qualified in the top 15. The top seven in points are guaranteed a start in the bonus event.