DEFENDING WINTERNATIONALS CHAMP TROXEL QUALIFIES NO. 12 Resets Career Best Speed to 332.51 MPH POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Melanie Troxel, driver of the Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA Top Fueler, journeys into the 47th annual CarQuest Auto Parts ...
DEFENDING WINTERNATIONALS CHAMP TROXEL QUALIFIES NO. 12
Resets Career Best Speed to 332.51 MPH
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 10) -- Melanie Troxel, driver of the Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA Top Fueler, journeys into the 47th annual CarQuest Auto Parts Winternationals from the No. 12 starting position, but from the previous races at the famed Pomona quarter-mile, she has the competition exactly where she wants them.
After qualifying ninth in the 2006 edition of the season opening race for the National Hot Rod Association, she conquered all opponents unleashing a consistency that was unmatched in competition in taking her first professional victory.
"This track has been great to us and even though we didn't qualify quite as well as we would have liked, considering this was only our third full run on the car," said Troxel, who finished fourth in the POWERade Top Fuel standings in 2006. "Last year when came here, we didn't qualify well at a lot of the races early in the year, but we did our job on Sunday. So, I'm just going to take that confidence from last year and roll it into this year. I feel really comfortable in this car, it drives great and as a driver if the car is doing a great job, but you're not comfortable and you're not doing a good job on the tree, it's hard to get that confidence behind you. I feel really good in this car right now, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
On her last pass, her best of the race weekend, she recorded a time of 4.541 seconds, but exceeded her previous best speed of 331.04 mph to post an excellent tempo of 332.51 mph.
"It's a good and bad thing," laughed Troxel. "I'm probably going to pay for that. I just took the fastest person in our household away from my husband (Funny Car driver, Tommy Johnson, Jr.). That's been kind of a little rivalry going back and forth between the two of us, so there probably will be some consequences for that one, but it's nice to have it just the same."
Entering eliminations on Sunday, Troxel races against J.R. Todd. In head-to-head match ups, Todd may hold the edge of their four meetings of three wins to her one with the last meeting in competition at the 2006 race in Richmond, the Avon, Ind. Resident remains unfazed and feels convinced that her winning ways will continue.
"I'm just glad to be back out here," said Troxel. "We have a beautiful car, a great opportunity to do something positive for our veterans out there. J.R. Todd is also one of Torco teammates, so in a way I hate to see us come up against each other in the first round, but there's getting to be so many of us you can't really avoid everybody. We're going to go up there and do our best job. They put down some good consistent numbers all weekend, but they are not so far ahead that a little improvement on our part will put us right there."