Gainesville: Melanie Troxel Saturday summary

TROXEL WORKS HER WAY INTO NO. 12 IN GAINESVILLE QUALIFYING GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel faced a scare in qualifications for the NHRA Gatornationals today, but ...

TROXEL WORKS HER WAY INTO NO. 12 IN GAINESVILLE QUALIFYING

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel faced a scare in qualifications for the NHRA Gatornationals today, but ultimately positioned the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster No. 12 in the 16-car field.

Entering the final round of qualifying, Troxel was in No. 16 after struggling in the previous rounds, then watched in the staging lanes as she was bumped off the chart by Doug Herbert. It was a nail-biter, but her fourth and final qualifying pass of 4.628 seconds at 325.02 mph re-established her place in the field.

"You try not to think about that because it's going to mess you up more than anything," she said of that moment when she realized she had been bumped out, "so I went up there with faith in my great group of guys. I knew we would be able to do what it takes to get the Skull Gear car in, and we did."

The three previous runs were a tire-shaking 6.608/120.36 and 9.876/94.33, and a 4.689/258.24, when the car hit the rev limiter, skidded and instead of one parachute being deployed to slow the car, both parachutes deployed, resulting in just enough loss of ET to place her in 16th.

"It's tough going up there knowing you have to run a good number, but not so good that you're running it on the edge," she said. "We had some really good data from our first pass today that didn't quite make it to the finish line, so we just made a few changes to that and the car went down the track.

"It doesn't bother me that much," she said of qualifying in the bottom half. "When we won the Winternationals we were in the bottom half of the field. Anything can happen on race day, and I'm sure we can improve on those numbers from the last (qualifying) session."

As for the newly-mandated Goodyear tire the teams ran this weekend for the first time: "I think it will take teams a few races to get real comfortable with the tire," she said. "I don't think our problems have been related to the tire, so that may play into our hands and give us a chance to get the car performing where it needs to be."

She meets Brandon Bernstein in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein