NHRA'S MELANIE TROXEL NOMINATED FOR "BEST FEMALE ATHLETE" ESPY SEASON-LONG POWERADE SERIES POINTS LEADER ALSO NOMINATED FOR "BEST DRIVER" AWARD; BECOMES FOURTH NHRA DRIVER NOMINATED FOR AN ESPY, FIRST NOMINATED FOR TWO AWARDS GLENDORA, Calif.
NHRA'S MELANIE TROXEL NOMINATED FOR "BEST FEMALE ATHLETE" ESPY
SEASON-LONG POWERADE SERIES POINTS LEADER ALSO NOMINATED FOR "BEST DRIVER" AWARD;
BECOMES FOURTH NHRA DRIVER NOMINATED FOR AN ESPY, FIRST NOMINATED FOR TWO AWARDS
GLENDORA, Calif. (June 26, 2006) -- NHRA Top Fuel driver Melanie Troxel, the season-long NHRA POWERade Series championship leader with two victories in seven final round appearances, has been nominated for two ESPY Awards including the prestigious Best Female Athlete award, it was announced today.
Troxel becomes the fourth NHRA POWERade Series driver to be nominated for an ESPY and the first to be nominated in two categories -- she was also nominated in the Best Driver category.
"This is definitely a dream season for me," said Troxel, who will compete in the balloting for Best Female Athlete with LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam, WNBA standout Sheryl Swoopes and Olympic Gold Medal winning Snowboarder Hannah Teter. "I appreciate the support of all the NHRA drag-racing fans out there who have followed my career and who continue to be my biggest fans."
The ESPY Awards, for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, were created by ESPN in 1993. Sports fans can vote for Troxel and other sports heroes in each of 36 different categories via an online poll at http://www.espn.go.com/espy2006
Troxel, 33, set an NHRA record for the most consecutive final round appearances (five) to open a season in Top Fuel. The quickest (4.458 seconds) and fastest (331.04 mph) female racer in NHRA history, she is trying to join legendary Shirley Muldowney as the only women in NHRA history to win a Top Fuel world championship title. Muldowney earned three during her driving career.
Earlier this year Troxel beat out NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves to win the prestigious DRIVER OF THE YEAR first quarter award, which is voted on by a distinguished panel of auto racing journalists. It is the first time in the 40-year history of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR award that a woman has won the quarterly or year-end vote.
Troxel will get a second chance to pit her impressive credentials against best drivers across all forms of auto racing as she will be joined on the ESPY Best Driver ballot by NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart and IRL drivers Sam Hornish and Dan Wheldon.
"It's a tremendous honor to be considered for an ESPY award as best driver," Troxel said. "To be even nominated among the outstanding racing drivers on the list is something I could never have dreamed of achieving."
Troxel, a Denver native who now calls Avon, Ind. home, joins John Force, Tony Pedregon and Greg Anderson as the only professional drag racers ever to be nominated for ESPY Awards and all were nominated in the Best Driver category.
Anderson, the three-time defending Pro Stock world champion (2003-'05) and 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR was nominated in 2005. Pedregon, the 2003 Funny Car world champion, was nominated in 2004. Force, a 13-time Funny Car world champion and winner of an NHRA-record 120 events, was nominated in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Past ESPY Best Driver winners include stock car racers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, a three-time winner, Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett, and open wheel drivers Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher.
Past ESPY Best Female Athlete winners include Annika Sorenstam, Mia Hamm, Serena and Venus Williams, Marion Jones, Julie Krone and Bonnie Blair, among others.
The 2006 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards at the spectacular Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on July 12. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET, preceded by the ESPY Red Carpet Special on ESPN News on July 12 at 7 p.m. ET. The ESPYs will be hosted by cycling great Lance Armstrong, the first athlete ever to host the show.