Troxel hits Pomona as Funny Car's only female racer
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 21) -- For the first time since 2008, Melanie Troxel arrives at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona for this weekend's 51st annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals knowing she'll be racing a full schedule in her In-N-Out Burger Funny Car. Adding to the intrigue of her much-anticipated return is the fact she'll be the only female in the class as Ashley Force Hood takes a year off to have a baby.
"It's an exciting time," Troxel said. "Pomona always signifies the start of the season so there's that feeling among all the teams that anything can happen. We're all equal in the standings and everyone is dreaming big at this point."
Pomona has been a special place for Troxel over the years. She first raced with In-N-Out Burger in her Top Alcohol Dragster at the facility in the late 1990s and in 2006 she began a record streak of five final-round appearances to start a season by winning the historic Winternationals in Top Fuel.
"That was my first Top Fuel win so of course it's one that really stands out for me," Troxel said. "And if you go back to my Top Alcohol Dragster days then I always think of Pomona as the place where I really learned how to drive. We competed a lot out here in those days because of the proximity to In-N-Out Burger's home base. This is a racetrack I've been down probably more than any other track on the circuit."
With In-N-Out Burger's corporate offices in nearby Baldwin Park and Irvine, Troxel expects lots of support from the management of the iconic hamburger restaurant. In-N-Out will serve as primary sponsor of Troxel's Funny Car in all the states where it has a presence -- California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas.
"And don't forget that Lynsi (Snyder, In-N-Out president and owner) will be racing her Sportsman car in Pomona so I'm really excited about that," Troxel said. "We don't get to race at the same events very often so we really try to cherish the time we do have. She's busy with the restaurants and I get swept up in racing every weekend but we do enjoy each other's company when our schedules line up.
"Our team takes the races we have in In-N-Out territories very seriously. We know how important image is to everyone at In-N-Out and we try to carry that positive vibe to the race team. Of course it would be great to win some rounds and get the crowd fired up for our racecar even more than they already are when we're in So-Cal."
Troxel, who will also race all 10 Pro Mod events this year, will have her Funny Car tuned by Aaron Brooks, who joined the team late last year. The two young guns have fit together well as driver and tuner and peeled off numerous quick passes in a recent test session in Florida.
"We've been working a lot of hours this off season making sure we're at our best," Troxel said. "Everyone on the crew, from Aaron on down, should be commended for the effort they put in over the past few months. I'm really proud of these guys and I know the best way to reward them is to run well.
"We're all ready to get started and we're excited. I can't wait for Thursday to get here."
-source: r2b2 racing