Pomona: Melanie Troxel preview

MELANIE TROXEL EMBARKS ON FIRST FULL TOP FUEL SEASON AT POMONA INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 7, 2006) - Melanie Troxel, who established herself as the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history in 2005 and the first female to reach 330 mph, will ...

MELANIE TROXEL EMBARKS ON FIRST FULL TOP FUEL SEASON AT POMONA

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 7, 2006) - Melanie Troxel, who established herself as the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history in 2005 and the first female to reach 330 mph, will embark on her first full season of Top Fuel competition this year, beginning with the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals this weekend at Pomona Raceway.

Don't let that stat fool you, Troxel is just one of the guys when it comes to performance, as her 2005 record will attest. In only her fifth of 11 races last year driving the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for DSR, she defeated points leader Doug Kalitta in the first round, then beat his brother Scott Kalitta at the next event. She outqualified (No. 2) her teammate and three-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher in Dallas, then lost to him in the semifinal.

But, wait, there's more. In the season-closing event at Pomona, she qualified No. 2 again, behind Schumacher, then made it an all-DSR final against him. She lost, but served notice that she is a fierce competitor.

"I'm really excited, especially with the way we finished off last year," said Troxel. "We knew that we had something going. This off-season should have given us nothing but more time to get prepared and organized and ready to go. We're really excited to get back out and see what we can do.

"At the end of last year we knew we had a team that was good enough to go out and win races and we felt a little bit of pressure to try to get one in before the end of the season, or at least I felt that pressure. But now we have the whole season ahead of us, so I would like to come out and run really strong, like we ran at the end of the year. I think if we are able to do that and just keep building on the performance that we had last year in Pomona at the finals, then I think that win will come."

Along with a number of other teams, Troxel tested a new Goodyear tire recently at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., in preparation for a new Top Fuel season.

"We struggled a little bit in testing," she said. "Not so much with our tune-up, but with the new tire, like a lot of the teams did. It was quite a difference from the tire we had been using, and I think that's the big part of the reason why NHRA decided to go ahead and let us use the old-style tires at Pomona.

"Once we went back to the old-style tires the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels dragster went right down the track. We never did run it to the finish line just for the sake of saving parts, but the numbers that we saw to 1000 feet we were very happy with.

"If we had gone out testing right off the bat with those tires, we would have run a lot of really good numbers. It was better to find out now that that tire isn't really going to work or that we are going to need some more testing time on it. Better to find that out now than in the middle of the race season."

-dsr

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