TROXEL MAKES RE-DEBUT IN TOP FUEL AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NATIONALS (July 17, 2005) - Colorado native Melanie Troxel re-debuted with Don Schumacher Racing and in the Top Fuel class this weekend, driving the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel...
TROXEL MAKES RE-DEBUT IN TOP FUEL AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NATIONALS
(July 17, 2005) - Colorado native Melanie Troxel re-debuted with Don Schumacher Racing and in the Top Fuel class this weekend, driving the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster to a No. 10 qualifying spot and her first round of eliminations in that class since 2003.
Team owner Don Schumacher and new tuner Richard Hogan did a masterful job of getting the entire team put together in barely two weeks' time, while Troxel called up her past experience to guide her, as there was no time for practice laps or even using a practice "Christmas" tree before arriving at the Mopar-Mile High NHRA Nationals this weekend at Bandimere Speedway.
Despite that, Troxel launched first at the light, with the second-best reaction time of the round, a .055 to her opponent Doug Herbert's .110, but lost the race to Herbert after losing traction. She completed her first Top Fuel elimination round in two years with a 5.826-second elapsed time at 192.85 mph to a winning 4.792/306.81.
"I have a practice tree that I like to put on the car and I hope I have some time to get in there and just work on the whole mindset of leaving at the starting line in a race, which for me is entirely different than in qualifying," said the 32-year-old who now lives in Avon, Ind., with husband and Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. "In qualifying my focus is getting the car in there shallow, making sure that I leave straight. I'm not really worried about my reaction time at all."
"I went up there a little bit nervous about it. The guys pulled the throttle stop off when we were about a pair back sitting waiting to go up there for first round and let me just kind of practice in the car, obviously with no practice tree."
"It all came back. I was really happy with my reaction time. We'd had a problem with the car dropping cylinders at the hit (this weekend) and that time it kept all the cylinders lit and we went out and overpowered the track a little bit."
"All in all, with the timing we've had to work with and everything else we needed to do to get ready for this race, we're pretty happy with what we've done. Obviously, we would have liked to have given Herbert a little bit more of a run for his money, but we're making progress. I think once we get away from this high-altitude track it will help us a little bit."
"This is a tough track to come to right off the bat and try to do well. It's not your norm. That threw us a little bit of a curve, but I think we had a good weekend."
Crew chief Richard Hogan was also relieved and encouraged. "It's a big relief to finally get it all done in a short amount of time," he said. "We'd like to have done better today, but with these conditions (altitude and 90-degree temperatures) and new team and new car, we just didn't quite do it. But, it's been a pretty good weekend to come out here and complete four qualifying runs and end up 10th and get a chance at racing on Sunday."
"We made a huge step today. We'll go to Seattle next weekend, we'll know how everybody works, and our parts inventory will be up to speed. We'll be at sea level, so we'll have more normal racing conditions, and we'll just keep going."
Next up is the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals on July 22-24, 2005.