Troxel intent on making more history at Bristol Dragway
Melanie Troxel made drag racing history at Bristol Dragway in 2008 when she won the Funny Car title of the Thunder Valley Nationals, thereby becoming the first female driver with victories in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. In 60 years of NHRA competition, only 15 pros have accomplished the feat, putting Troxel in some elite company.
This weekend, Troxel returns to eastern Tennessee with fond memories of her past accomplishments at the Bruton Smith-owned facility, although her focus is more on the here-and-now as she tries for the sport's first double-win in Funny Car and Pro Mod, the two categories in which she currently competes.
"Bristol automatically makes me think of the Funny Car win there in '08," Troxel said. "At the time, there was a lot of attention on me and Ashley (Force) about who would be the first female driver to win a Funny Car race. She got it done first, but then we turned right around and won Bristol and made a little history of our own so it worked out great."
Looking to this weekend's race, Troxel brings the enthusiasm and excitement of her best outing of the year at the last NHRA tour stop in Englishtown, N.J., where she set both ends of the world record in her ProCare Rx Corvette Pro Mod car and qualified a season-best fourth and won her first elimination round of 2011 in her ProCare Rx Toyota Camry Funny Car.
"Running the 5.772 at 258.71 mph in the Pro Mod car was such a leap forward that it really rates as a career highlight," Troxel said. "We knew the turbo combination was good because our team owner Roger Burgess had been running low ET of every race this year with the same car and set-up. We finally got agreeable weather conditions in E-town and it just flew. To shatter the records like we did was special.
"The Funny Car carried me to my career-best numbers and showed we can run with the best teams out there. The good part is we've got lots of room to improve. It's been a struggle to get to this point so it's exciting to get some results."
It will be a busy weekend for Troxel as she jumps from her Funny Car to Pro Mod machine several times, but a year and a half of double-dipping experience has her handling the extra pressure with ease.
"I'm used to it now," Troxel said. "The crew guys on both sides are awesome at handling all the little things that need to be done so I can literally jump from one car to the other. The hardest thing last time out for me was getting used to the staging procedure in the turbo Pro Mod car. It's very different than what I was used to so we went out and tested like crazy this past week. I'll be ready to go this time, and hopefully Bristol will give us some more special memories."