Las Vegas: Melanie Troxel preview

Death-defying team outing on tap for In-N-Out Burger Funny Car team in Vegas LAS VEGAS (April 12) -- Drag racer Melanie Troxel admits she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie. The only female in NHRA history with wins in the sport's top two...

Death-defying team outing on tap for In-N-Out Burger Funny Car team in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (April 12) -- Drag racer Melanie Troxel admits she's a bit of an adrenaline junkie. The only female in NHRA history with wins in the sport's top two categories -- Top Fuel and Funny Car -- Troxel routinely zips down the drag strip in four seconds at speeds in excess of 315 mph.

But her all-male crew still likes to give her a hard time about being a girl, including good-natured ribbing about bringing a purse and lipstick with her whenever she makes a pass in her 8,000-horsepower In-N-Out Burger Funny Car.

"They like to kid with me," Troxel said. "So the other day I made them promise to come along with me on a special deal in Las Vegas, but they have no idea what they're in for.

"Basically, I thought we needed a team bonding experience so I signed the guys up for a ride on the Big Shot at the top of the Stratosphere. I figure experiencing four Gs while dangling 1,000 feet over the Las Vegas Strip should separate the men from the boys. They'll get a little taste of what drivers go through.

"If we all survive then the race should be no problem, right?"

Once they recover from their prerace outing, Troxel's race team will continue working on a new tactic they unveiled last weekend in Houston that is calling for a much more aggressive tune-up for their Dodge Charger R/T.

"No one on this team has the desire to go out there, qualify in the bottom half of the field, and lose in the first round," Troxel said. "We're here to win races. We need to figure out a way to consistently be in the top half of the field and get within a hundredth of a second or two of the top qualifier.

"Lance Larsen and Robb Hauser (co-crew chiefs) have been working on getting our clutch program figured out. The plan in Houston was to get aggressive and run some 4.0s. We have to run 4.0s if we expect to beat the top teams out here. It didn't quite work out like we wanted in Houston but we made some progress and that was exciting.

"We've got a new batch of clutch discs coming in time for this weekend and they are much closer to what we've used in the past, which will help tremendously. These discs will allow us to use a lot more of the data we've gathered in the past when we were running so well."

Troxel also is excited about returning to the western United States.

"It's great to be back on In-N-Out Burger's home turf," she said. "They have seven landmark locations in Las Vegas and it's a big market for them. I know we'll have a bunch of folks from the home office in Baldwin Park, Calif., coming over so we want to show them a good time.

"Las Vegas is a great place. Bruton Smith owns the track and it's top notch. Of course the city has lots of fun things to do and the guys like to go out and see the sights. For sure they're going to see a lot of Vegas from the top of the Stratosphere, unless they're scared and keep their eyes closed."

-source: melanie troxel racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel