MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 28, 2006) - With four races left in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Melanie Troxel continues to fight her way back to the top of the standings, as the series returns to the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend after the event was re-scheduled from two weeks ago because of rain.

After leading the point standings through the first 12 events of her first full season competing in Top Fuel, reaching seven final rounds and winning twice, the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster is in fourth place, 165 points behind leader Doug Kalitta. In front of her are her teammate Tony Schumacher in second and Brandon Bernstein in third.

As the season winds down, a variety of weather conditions will play a part in her goal to qualify well and go rounds as she aims to return to the front of the rankings. This weekend's predicted cooler temperatures could help or hinder.

"They're saying that temperatures will be in the low 60s on Friday," says Troxel. "Cold weather always makes it a little tricky to tune the cars. It's definitely good for the performance. It could make it tough to get down the track, however, so we're going to have to be on our game."

As for having to travel now to four back-to-back venues (Reading, Dallas, Reading, and Richmond, Va., next weekend): "The only down side to Reading being rained out the first time is that this weekend was one of our off weekends," she says. "It's getting late in the year and everybody has been traveling a lot and going to a lot of races and one more weekend away from home I think is hard on everybody involved.

"It's tough on everybody, but actually we've been lucky all year long with the weather, so if this is the only rainout we have, then I think we'll be looking good."

-credit: dsr