NHRA'S TROXEL VOTED FIRST FEMALE 'DRIVER OF THE QUARTER' GLENDORA, Calif. -- Melanie Troxel beat out NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves to become the first woman in the 40-year history of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR award, to win a...
NHRA'S TROXEL VOTED FIRST FEMALE 'DRIVER OF THE QUARTER'
GLENDORA, Calif. -- Melanie Troxel beat out NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves to become the first woman in the 40-year history of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR award, to win a quarterly title in voting by a panel of leading journalists and broadcasters, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation announced today.
The 33-year-old driver of the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster impressed the voters as well as her rivals as she made all-five final-round appearances in the quarter and earned victories in Pomona, Calif. and Las Vegas in her first full season behind the wheel of motorsports' most powerful machine.
"Although two other NHRA drivers, John Force and Greg Anderson, have won the prestigious overall DRIVER OF THE YEAR, no female driver in any category has taken a quarter or been voted DRIVER OF THE YEAR," said Barry Schmoyer, president of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR foundation. "When you consider that this award has been in existence for 40 years, Troxel's selection by some of the most dedicated motorsports journalists and broadcasters shows that we have come a long way since the beginning of the award."
Troxel, who currently leads the POWERade Series Top Fuel point standings, will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch on Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga.
"I am so honored just to be in the company of the drivers who have previously been in the running for this award and those who have won the award," Troxel said. "It is also something special to me to be representing the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at the same time."
Troxel took six first-place votes and tallied 82 points. Second in the voting was Helio Castroneves, who notched two victories in the IndyCar Series. Castroneves got one first-place vote and totaled 68 points.
Jimmie Johnson, who won NASCAR Cup Series events in Daytona Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas, was third in the vote with a total of 51 points and one first-place vote. NASCAR's Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, DRIVER OF THE YEAR 2005, also garnered first-place ballots.
A total of 14 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting.
In its 40th year, DRIVER OF THE YEAR is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 DRIVER OF THE YEAR.
"To be rewarded with this kind of honor in my first full season of Top Fuel competition is incredibly exciting," Troxel said. "I have to thank (team owner) Don Schumacher for having the trust in me to put me into one of his cars, and to my crew chief Richard Hogan, who makes this car perform so well. I owe this success to them and to Evan Knoll, president/CEO/owner of Torco Gas."
President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Fla.