TROXEL REACHES FOURTH STRAIGHT FINAL ROUND, BUILDS POINTS LEAD GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2006) - Melanie Troxel came into the NHRA Gatornationals with a 14-point lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel standings, and after ...
TROXEL REACHES FOURTH STRAIGHT FINAL ROUND, BUILDS POINTS LEAD
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2006) - Melanie Troxel came into the NHRA Gatornationals with a 14-point lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel standings, and after reaching her fourth straight final round and third of the 2006 season, extended it to 73 points.
After defeating Brandon Bernstein with the fastest and quickest pass of the weekend, 4.501/329.54, in the first round, Morgan Lucas in the second (4.726/233.17) and Doug Herbert in the semis (4.521/32727), Troxel faced David Grubnic in the final round.
It was a heartbreaker after watching her teammates Angelle Sampey win Pro Stock Motorcycle and Ron Capps win Funny Car for Troxel to not collect a third trophy for team owner Don Schumacher. But loss of traction slowed her to a 7.995-second pass at 93.59 mph while David Grubnic took the win with a less-than-perfect 4.943/317.90.
"We are all a little perplexed by the loss of traction," she said. "We were expecting it to go right down that left lane."
Crew chief Richard Hogan also thought the track would cooperate. "We had an area right at the one-second spot in the track that gave us some problems this weekend," he said. "It was marginal in qualifying and in the second round today, then in the semifinal, it looked really good. Of course, in the final it went the other way."
Despite losing 25 points for oildowns in the last event in Phoenix, Troxel's outstanding season performances are keeping her atop the Top Fuel point standings. "It's great to win races," she said, "but round wins are more important when it comes to a championship, so that's what we'll focus on for the rest of the year.
"I'm a little disappointed that we didn't win the event, but all in all it's been a good weekend considering the fact that it looked like we might not qualify for the event. But we made ground in the points standings, and that is definitely a plus," said the Colorado native.
She and the Skull Gear team faced a scare late Saturday after being bumped out of the field just prior to the fourth and final qualifying run. They were able to lay down a 4.628/325.02 to garnish the No. 12 spot.
Troxel was unfazed heading into Sunday because she knew the team could still go rounds from any qualifying position. "That's the nice thing to know, that even if we struggle a little bit Richard and the guys can step up to the plate and make it happen on Sunday."
She looks to maintain the consistency that has led her to a 10-2 round win-loss record for the 2006 season.
Troxel and the team will test the new NHRA-mandated Goodyear tire Monday in Gainesville, before heading back to the Don Schumacher Racing headquarters in Brownsburg, Ind., to prepare for the NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, March 31-April 2.