Success at Sea Level Melanie Troxel's Goal for Seattle Race The track name has changed along with some of the topography, but that hasn't altered Melanie Troxel's feelings for Pacific Raceways, nee Seattle International Raceway. The site of...
Success at Sea Level Melanie Troxel's Goal for Seattle Race
The track name has changed along with some of the topography, but that hasn't altered Melanie Troxel's feelings for Pacific Raceways, nee Seattle International Raceway.
The site of this weekend's Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals is where Troxel earned her first NHRA national event victory. It came in Top Alcohol dragster in 1999, and was followed by another win in Topeka.
Much has changed for Troxel since then, but she still enjoys returning to the Seattle area. The fact this event comes a week after the NHRA POWERade Series tour stop in the oxygen-starved mile-high altitude of Denver, makes it even more accommodating for all of the crew chiefs who struggled with tune-ups at Bandimere Speedway.
"I like Seattle," said Troxel. "I think it is a pretty venue. I like parking in the middle of the trees . . . and I've had success there when I was racing in the alcohol ranks. I ran all of the (NHRA) Division 6 and Division 7 races, which includes Seattle.
"I always look forward to racing at this track. Hopefully, we will be able to turn our luck around there this weekend."
Northwest fans will see Troxel vying for a starting berth in Funny Car this year. She made the switch during the winter. The team struggled early as she figured out how to drive the 8,000-horsepower beast, while the crew dealt with adjusting to more than 100 pounds of ballast that was mandated prior to the 2008 season.
While they still are searching for consistent on-track performances, the Roger Burgess owned Gotham City Racing Dodge Charger R/T has definitely displayed its potential.
Troxel and the car were in-sync at Bristol, Tenn., on May 18, when she drove to her first Funny Car victory and into the history books. She became the 14th driver -- and the first female driver -- to win in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car ranks, joining her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., in the elite group.
She logged her first No. 1 qualifying position at Chicago/Joliet, Ill., in June. The team's ultimate goal is to be among the 10 qualifiers for the six-race championship playoffs that begin in September. Troxel is in contention, only 84 points out with five races to go in the regular season.
This is the second of three races in the Western Swing, and a hot streak here and next week in Sonoma, Calif., plus impending stops in Brainerd, Minn., Reading, Pa., and Indianapolis, could put her in the Countdown to 1.