Things coming together for Troxel as FIA Main Event turns to eliminations PODINGTON, England (May 30) -- The skies over Santa Pod Raceway cleared up on Sunday, but the season-opening FIA Main Event did exhibit more than its fair share of ...
Things coming together for Troxel as FIA Main Event turns to eliminations
PODINGTON, England (May 30) -- The skies over Santa Pod Raceway cleared up on Sunday, but the season-opening FIA Main Event did exhibit more than its fair share of first-race stumbles -- chief among them was Pro Mod driver Rolf Amman of Switzerland running the Christmas Tree over during his burnout and Andy Robinson of England dumping oil down a large stretch of one of the lanes.
The mishaps and a six-hour-plus opening pro session cut the number of qualifying rounds from three to two.
American Melanie Troxel had no problems during her two Pro Mod runs during the day. She got down the track both times in the R2B2 Racing Camaro with a best pass of 6.243 at 239.85 mph. She is seventh on the ladder and will face No. 10 Adam Flamholc, who had a best pass of 6.436 at 166.07 mph, in Round 1 of eliminations.
"We finally got to run the car," Troxel said. "It just feels good to get your feet wet and get your bearings."
Troxel was in the first pair of Pro Mods down the track in Round 1. The car had some trouble at the hit, but she pedaled it well and cruised to a pass of 6.572 seconds at 223.63 mph. During both passes on Saturday, Troxel had to pedal the car but was able to get it to hook back up quickly both times.
"It probably didn't look all that exciting from the outside, but it was very exciting," Troxel said. "It shook early in the second run just like it did in the first run. We're trying to be a little too aggressive there. I pedaled it and it cleared up.
"Any time you can get to the finish line it's fun. We would have loved to see what we could do with it if we didn't have to pedal the car. But it was a big step up for us."
Atlanta Pro Mod winner Michael Gullqvist, Troxel's teammate for the weekend, recovered from a break in the first round to jump up all the way to sixth in the field with a 6.226 at 223.42 mph. He faces Marco Maurischat in the first round. Maurischat ran a 6.476 at 215.13 mph.
Troxel and her car were a star attraction all day. Wherever the Camaro was sitting in the lanes, fans always made sure to lean in to get a better look at things. English fans, many wear NHRA-related gear, crowded around the popular pro to get an autograph and pictures.
"There's been a lot of excitement about an NHRA driver coming over here," Troxel said. "We've enjoyed the enthusiasm of the fans and everyone who has come over to welcome us.
"I've had a lot of great experiences over here. I've met some great people, had an autograph session, and sat in a couple of nostalgia dragsters, including the first dragster built in England, The Allard. It was very cool to meet some of the people who've been part of the beginning of the sport over here."
Despite the rain Saturday and high winds and long delays Sunday, a strong crowd piled into the Santa Pod facility to watch the event.
"There was a great turnout today," Troxel said. "There's kind of a grassy hill on one side of the track and it's just packed with fans. There's a lot of people out here sleeping in tents, and you can tell they are very committed and serious about their race weekend."
Other highlights from Sunday include past champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland putting up a big run of 4.754 seconds at 319.31 mph in Top Fuel, which put him on track to earn the European record.
Michael Malmgren was the No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock with a best pass of 6.774 at 204.23 mph.