St. Louis: Melanie Troxel preview

Troxel, 2007 Midwest Nationals Top Fuel Winner, Returns in ProCare Rx Dodge Funny Car in 2008 The timeworn theory that if one is good, two are better is a point well-taken in NHRA professional racing camps. Two cars provide twice as much...

Troxel, 2007  Midwest Nationals Top Fuel Winner,
Returns in ProCare Rx Dodge Funny Car in  2008

The timeworn theory that if one is good, two are better is a point well-taken in NHRA professional racing camps. Two cars provide twice as much data and that, in turn, should improve performances.

In her  first season behind the wheel of a Funny Car, Melanie Troxel has been
learning  the nuances of the Gotham City Racing ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T.
 The  lessons are good ones and -- based on the numbers she ran last week at
Atlanta --  she is on the cusp of competitive elapsed times.
She will find out  Friday when the three-day O'Reilly Midwest Nationals
begins at Gateway  International Raceway in nearby Madison, Ill. And she will have
a teammate with  whom to compare notes -- team co-owner Mike Ashley, who is
making his second 2008  Funny Car appearance, driving the Lend America/Gotham
City Racing Dodge Charger  R/T for at least the next five POWERade Series events.
Ashley, a  three-time winner last year, said he wanted to take advantage of
the two-car  concept by racing and providing more data for the crew chiefs.
Two-time  NHRA Funny Car champion Frank Hawley drove the car at two events this
year,  including at Atlanta last weekend.

Ordinarily, the pre-race focus on Troxel would be as the defending race Top Fuel winner. Gateway Raceway was the site of her third career win last year and she followed it with a win at Memphis. But she isn't glancing in the rearview mirror despite getting off to a slow start this season in her new category.

"It's always good  to come back to a track where you won before," she said.
"We are close" to  getting a consistent tune-up. "If you look at the way the
two cars ran last  weekend, we were incredibly consistent.  We went down the
track each of the  four (qualifying) runs, and then just missed qualifying. We
just need to make  those last couple of tweaks to the tune-up."

Her best time was 4.971 seconds, but she needed to run better than 4.939 seconds.

She believes she has a better opportunity this weekend.

-credit: gcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Mike Ashley , Frank Hawley