Indianapolis: Melanie Troxel Sunday summary

INDY LOCAL TROXEL QUALIFIES NO. 10 FOR U.S. NATIONALS INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4, 2005) - Melanie Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel Dragster team started out this Labor Day weekend on a high note. On Friday night Troxel kicked off...

INDY LOCAL TROXEL QUALIFIES NO. 10 FOR U.S. NATIONALS

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 4, 2005) - Melanie Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel Dragster team started out this Labor Day weekend on a high note. On Friday night Troxel kicked off her visit to the prestigious 51st annual U.S. Nationals with a career-best elapsed time of 4.565 seconds and a career-best speed of 326.48 mph.

In the remaining four qualifying sessions for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel class, however, the good times were few and far between.

Troxel's other qualifying efforts were hampered by clutch-management issues, resulting in a tire-smoking 7.849/92.81 pass in the second session, and a 10.099/81.36 in the third, a 15.186/66.50 in the fourth, and, finally, a 9.712/82.30.

"On Friday we went out with a new car, on a night-time pass, ran a 4.56 (-second elapsed time) on the first lap in the car, and I was really excited," said the local Avon, Ind., resident, "I thought we had a great opportunity to go out and be really competitive, with a shot at winning this race. Of course, things never turn out like you think they're going to."

"We've really struggled since that first strong run," added the 32-year-old. "We didn't make it to the finish line in any of the other passes for a lot of different reasons. A majority of the passes we were smoking the tires."

Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels team remain optimistic heading into Monday's eliminations. "It's unfortunate, but I know I have a great group of guys here," she said. "(Crew chief) Richard (Hogan) and the guys will get it figured out. Hopefully we'll have a good race tomorrow."

"It appears our troubles are clutch controller, clutch weight, and clutch management in general," said Hogan. "The engine is running good, the track has been good, it's just a condition that I haven't addressed properly with the clutch controls to make it run right."

"I'll go do my homework tonight, come back out and see what happens."

Troxel faces Scott Kalitta in first round of eliminations on Sunday for the second time in six races this year.

-js

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