R2B2 Racing's Pro Mod best hopes rest with fill-in driver Gillqvist; Troxel faces big challenge ATLANTA (May 16) -- Filling in for team driver Raymond Commisso, who skipped this event after the death of his father, Swedish pro Michael Gillqvist...
R2B2 Racing's Pro Mod best hopes rest with fill-in driver Gillqvist; Troxel faces big challenge
ATLANTA (May 16) -- Filling in for team driver Raymond Commisso, who skipped this event after the death of his father, Swedish pro Michael Gillqvist represents the best chance for R2B2 Racing to win its hometown race Sunday at Atlanta Dragway.
Following the stunning DNQ of team patriarch Roger Burgess and the first-round exit of Melanie Troxel in a close race against Rick Stivers in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, Gillqvist emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the first two days of racing for the popular team from Duluth, Ga. His first-round drubbing of Ed Hoover with a slick 5.990 at 244.74 mph on Saturday evening proves he's got a great chance at winning the event.
"I come all the way from Stockholm so I figure we might as well win the race," said Gillqvist, who flew over Thursday after Commisso's father Ernesto passed away. "The car is running well and I feel comfortable in the seat.
"Only two of us posted five-second runs in Round 1 so we appear to be very competitive. It would be wonderful to win this race in honor of Raymond's father."
Gillqvist's biggest obstacle on the way to the winner's circle could be his next opponent, Scott Ray, who ran a 5.948 at 239.65 mph in his opening round tilt. He'll find out around 1:30 p.m. EDT when the quarterfinals are scheduled to take place.
Troxel kept Stivers honest in the opening frame of Pro Mod with a 6.070 at 239.14 mph in her In-N-Out Burger Corvette. However, Stivers answered with a 6.032 at 240.25 mph to take the win.
"Just a good drag race," Troxel said. "It was hot and slick out there but we're all racing down the same track. The way Pro Mod has been this season it's a feat just to qualify for the field so we at least accomplished that goal. We're going to stay and test tomorrow so hopefully we'll find some more performance and be ready for Bristol."
The only female racer in history with victories in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, Troxel also qualified her In-N-Out Burger Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car field. Her opening round opponent in that category is defending series champion Robert Hight from the powerful John Force Racing stable, who is sure to give her a solid test.
"Robert has a great racecar and that's a championship-caliber team over there," she said. "But to win at this level you have to be able to beat them all so he's as good an opponent as anyone to start the day. Maybe we can get a little luck on our side and win some rounds. The main thing is we want to get down the track and let the other guy know we're here to win and that they can't take us lightly."