Memphis: Melanie Troxel preview

TROXEL IN MIDDLE OF TIGHT TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2006) - Melanie Troxel is in the midst of an exciting race for her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship as she and the Skull Shine/Knoll ...

TROXEL IN MIDDLE OF TIGHT TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP CHASE

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2006) - Melanie Troxel is in the midst of an exciting race for her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship as she and the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels team head to Memphis, Tenn., this weekend for the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals.

Troxel, who led the Top Fuel point standing through the first 12 races of the 23-event 2006 season, is now tied in second with teammate Tony Schumacher and in a three-way battle with leader Doug Kalitta (81 points ahead) and Schumacher for the crown.

The summer heat has taken its toll, and Troxel finds herself fighting to get back on top of the rankings, with seven events remaining, following a string of six early-round losses. But her strong No. 5 qualifying effort in Brainerd, Minn., last weekend has heightened the team's hopes.

"We're looking forward to getting back to Memphis, even though we know that the weather there can be tough on the entire team," she says. "We felt like we made progress last weekend and we definitely like what we're seeing from the performance side. We'll have to see whether or not that tune-up will work in the different conditions that we'll have in Memphis, but we're optimistic.

"It's going to be interesting. It looks like the forecast is calling for warm weather, but we're hoping that the fact that we're running later in the day will give us cooler temperatures and weather similar to what we had in Brainerd. Hopefully, that will keep it from being as extreme as it would be if we ran in the heat of the day."

As for the championship chase, "It's obviously shaping up to be a close race down to the wire," she says, "and I think fans are going to be treated to some really good racing through the end of the year."

In 2005, the Memphis event was Troxel's fifth race of the season after re-joining Don Schumacher Racing in Denver. She arrived in Memphis 22nd in points and left in 19th.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Don Schumacher