Troxel receives Sportswoman of the Year nomination

NHRA'S TROXEL NOMINATED FOR "SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR" AWARD BY WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION WITH TWO WINS AND A TOP FUEL-LEADING SEVEN FINAL ROUNDS, TROXEL HAS LED POWERADE SERIES STANDINGS FOR 80 PERCENT OF SEASON, IS CURRENTLY...

NHRA'S TROXEL NOMINATED FOR "SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR" AWARD BY WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION

WITH TWO WINS AND A TOP FUEL-LEADING SEVEN FINAL ROUNDS, TROXEL HAS LED POWERADE SERIES STANDINGS FOR 80 PERCENT OF SEASON, IS CURRENTLY IN SECOND

GLENDORA, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2006) -- NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series driver Melanie Troxel, who has advanced to a Top Fuel-best seven final rounds this season, has been nominated by the Women's Sports Foundation as a finalist for its prestigious "Sportswoman of the Year" award, it was announced today.

She will join nine other finalists at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on Monday, Oct. 16 for the WSF Awards Dinner, where the 2006 Sportswoman of the Year will be announced.

The other finalists include: Cindy Klassen (Speedskating), Janica Kostelic (Skiing), Jessica Long (Swimmer), Amelie Mauresmo (Tennis), Chellsie Memmel (Gymnastics), Sanya Richards (Track & Field), Annika Sorenstam (Golf), Laurie Stephens (Skiing), and Hannah Teter (Snowboarder).

"It's really an honor for me to be nominated as a Sportswoman of the Year finalist with such high achievers in a variety of sports," said Troxel, who earlier this year was recognized for her breakout season with ESPY nominations for Best Driver and Best Female Athlete. "As a race car driver, to be recognized among these outstanding female athletes is personally rewarding to me. It also indicates the continuing growth of awareness of the unique sport of drag racing with all sports fans."

The winner of the Sportswoman of the Year award will be determined via an online poll and sports fans can vote for Troxel or one of the other nine finalists at www.sportswomanvote.com

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, the last coming in 1982.

The Denver native who now calls Avon, Ind. home is currently in second place in the POWERade Series standings in her Don Schumacher Racing owned Skull Shine/Knoll Gas/Torco Race Fuels dragster with seven events remaining in the 23-event, $50 million NHRA POWERade Series season. The next event on the schedule is the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals, Aug. 18-20 at Memphis Motorsports Park.

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.

Past Sportswoman of the Year Award winners include a who's who of the greatest female athletes of all-time, from Annika Sorenstam and Juli Inkster to Sarah Hughes and Michelle Kwan to Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

The Women's Sports Foundation, founded in 1974 by legendary tennis champion Billie Jean King, is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and young women through sports and physical activity.

Melanie Troxel, 2006 Highlights:

* NHRA POWERade Series Top Fuel points through first half of 2006 season; currently in second place, 81 points behind Doug Kalitta.

* Named the first quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR by a distinguished panel of auto racing journalists, beating out NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves.

* She is the first woman to be selected as a quarterly winner for the prestigious DRIVER OF THE YEAR in the 40-year history of the award

* Was nominated for two ESPY awards (Best Female Athlete and Best Driver)

* Set NHRA record for most final rounds to open a season (five)

* Has advanced to seven final rounds in 15 starts, most in the Top Fuel category.

* Has earned two victories: CARQUEST Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. and SummitRacing.com Nationals, Las Vegas

* She has earned two No. 1 qualifying positions: O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn. and the O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kan.

* She is one of eight women in NHRA history to earn a national event victory in a professional category

* She is one of eight women in NHRA history to earn a No. 1 qualifying position in a professional category

* She is one of six women in NHRA history to earn a victory in Top Fuel

* She is the quickest and fastest woman in NHRA history with a career-best time of 4.458 seconds, and a career-best speed of 331.04 mph

* She is seeking to become the first female in Top Fuel to win a POWERade Series world championship in a quarter century (Shirley Muldowney, 1982).

Melanie Troxel, Career Highlights:

* Named the NHRA Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner in 2000, which recognizes a young driver with a promising future in the sport

* Became one of 39 women to win an NHRA national event in any category (including sportsman) when she won two Top Alcohol Dragster races in 1999 (Seattle and Topeka)

* In her professional career she has two victories and seven runner-up finishes

* Entering the 2006 season, she had earned Top Fuel runner-up finishes at Dallas in 2000 and Pomona, Calif. in 2005

Melanie Troxel, Notable:

* She is married to Tommy Johnson Jr., who drives a Funny Car in NHRA POWERade Series competition

* She is the daughter of the late Mike Troxel, a former NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster competitor in the 1980s

* She drives the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas/Torco Race Fuels dragster, fielded by Schumacher Racing and owned by Don Schumacher

Past Sportswoman of the Year Award winners*:
2005 -- Erin Popovich
2004 -- Annika Sorenstam
2003 -- Natalie Coughlin
2002 -- Sarah Hughes
2001 -- Stacy Dragila
2000 -- Jenny Thompson
1999 -- Juli Inkster
1998 -- Michelle Kwan
1997 -- Gail Devers
1996 -- Amy Van Dyken
1995 -- Bonnie Blair
1994 -- Bonnie Blair
1993 -- Julie Krone
1992 -- Pat Bradley (Pro), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Am.)
1991 -- Meg Mallon, Jean Driscoll
1990 -- Paula Newby-Fraser, Lori Norwood
1989 -- Steffi Graf, Janet Evans
1988 -- Susan Butcher, Jackie Joyner-Kersee
1987 -- Susan Butcher, Jackie Joyner-Kersee
1986 -- Lynette Woodard, Debi Thomas
1985 -- Libby Riddles, Michele Mitchell
1984 -- Martina Navratilova, Mary Lou Retton and Joan Benoit
1983 -- Martina Navratilova, Mary Decker
1982 -- Martina Navratilova, Mary Decker
1981 -- Chris Evert, Tracy Caulkins
1980 -- Tracy Austin, Mary Decker

*NOTE: Up to 1993, awards were given to amateur and professionals; beginning in 1994, the Foundation awarded one award to the top individual and one to the top team.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Doug Kalitta , Helio Castroneves , Jimmie Johnson , Melanie Troxel , Don Schumacher , Martina Navratilova , Tommy Johnson Jr.