Las Vegas: Goodyear final summary

TROXEL LEADS HIGHLIGHTS GOODYEAR WINNERS IN LAS VEGAS LAS VEGAS, Nev. (April 9, 2006) -- Melanie Troxel continued her rompin', stompin' march through the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel series as she won the SummitRacing.com Nationals at...

TROXEL LEADS HIGHLIGHTS GOODYEAR WINNERS IN LAS VEGAS

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (April 9, 2006) -- Melanie Troxel continued her rompin', stompin' march through the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel series as she won the SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Troxel headlined a group of five drivers that raced to victory on Goodyear tires here. Cruz Pedregon broke a long winless streak in Funny Car, Kurt Johnson won in Pro Stock, Tom Mettler was the winner in Competition Eliminator and Milt Gedo won in Super Comp.

The five wins bring Goodyear's season total in NHRA national competition to 27. That total is the best in the tire industry.

Troxel won for the second time this season. She has been in the final round of every race this year and has been by far the most consistent performer in the class. She established an NHRA record by becoming the first Top Fuel driver to open a season by reaching the final round in each of the first five races. Including the final event of the 2005 season, Troxel has reached the final in six straight races overall.

"We thought that we would come out and win races this year, but to go to this many straight final rounds even when you're dominating - which I'm not sure we are - but even when you're dominating that's hard to do," said Troxel. "It just seems right now like we can do no wrong."

Troxel leads the Top Fuel standings 483-327 over second-place David Grubnic. Larry Dixon is third with 297.

Pedregon had not won in six years, a span of 126 races. He beat points leader Ron Capps in the final.

"I think you could say it was a guerrilla on my back," Pedregon said. "A monkey is too small."

The Las Vegas race was the third since Goodyear's D2420 rear drive tire became the exclusive rear tire available to the nitro Top Fuel and Funny Car teams. Pedregon said he likes the new tire.

"The tire is a good tire," he said. "There is nothing wrong with it at all. It just requires a different approach than the last tire we had."

Johnson's victory margin over Dave Connolly in the Pro Stock final was officially listed as .003 of a second and was unofficially estimated at about the thickness of an extra coat of paint on his Chevrolet.

Johnson's victory was the 33rd of his career but the first of 2006. He has now won at least one race in the last 12 seasons. The victory propelled him to 10th place in the Pro Stock standings. He was the fifth Pro Stock winner this season.

"It'll be close at the end, I'll tell you that," Johnson said of the race for the championship. "Five winners in five races? Wow."

Gedo, from nearby Pahrump, Nev., won an all-Goodyear final. He beat Chad Langdon. It was Gedo's first appearance in the final round of a national event. Langdon had not lost in two previous chances in the final round of a national event.

Mettler beat Frank Aragona Jr., in another Goodyear-shod car, in the Competition Eliminator final.

More information on Goodyear's racing efforts is available at www.racegoodyear.com. More information on the NHRA is available at www.nhra.com.

-goodyear racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Frank Aragona , Ron Capps , Cruz Pedregon , Melanie Troxel , Dave Connolly