Phoenix: Melanie Troxel race report

Troxel gets star treatment in Phoenix before bowing to Force Hood PHOENIX (Feb. 21) -- Melanie Troxel's first round match-up with Ashley Force Hood Sunday at Firebird International Raceway was so highly anticipated that ESPN's vaunted...

Troxel gets star treatment in Phoenix before bowing to Force Hood

PHOENIX (Feb. 21) -- Melanie Troxel's first round match-up with Ashley Force Hood Sunday at Firebird International Raceway was so highly anticipated that ESPN's vaunted Sportscenter program featured the pending battle of female Funny Car drivers throughout its morning programs, complete with live interviews from the track.

For most of the 1,000-foot race, the duo lived up to the hype, but Troxel's In-N-Out Dodge Charger R/T began losing traction at the top end, allowing Force Hood to march to victory. At the stripe it was Force Hood winning with a 4.104 at 306.81 mph to Troxel's resigned 4.426 at 207.05 mph.

Troxel was the underdog in the race, having qualified 12th with a 4.187-second pass at 285.77 mph to Force Hood's fifth-best 4.119 at 298.40 mph. That gave the distinct advantage of lane choice to Force Hood.

"We knew we had to step it up for Ashley," Troxel said. "We're still on a bit of a learning curve with our new tune-up and we pushed it right to the edge of what we felt we could do and then obviously a touch farther. When the clutch locked-up just past mid-track it blew the tires off. It was a pretty good race until then."

Crew chief Lance Larsen had to deal with a lengthy delay and changing track conditions brought on by an earlier accident and subsequent cleanup in Top Fuel, which was then followed by a rain delay.

"We have a car that consistently runs in the high teens," said Troxel, the only female racer in history with wins in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. "We've been working at getting quicker, which requires making runs, and we lost a few more here during qualifying, including one washed out completely by rain. That makes it tougher for a team like ours that didn't get to test much before the season.

"It seems we're having trouble in the same area of the track so we will work on making the necessary adjustments for that spot and hopefully that will do the trick."

The team will try to test before the next event in hopes of fine-tuning their setup. Team owner Roger Burgess hasn't yet determined if they will race at the next Full Throttle Series stop in Gainesville, Fla. The next official appearance of the In-N-Out Burger Funny Car will come April 9-11 at Houston Raceway Park.

-source: melanie troxel racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Roger Burgess