Melanie Troxel Scores First Funny Car Victory In Rain Troubled Thunder Valley Nationals BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18, 2008 -- Melanie Troxel completed an incredible turnaround Sunday at Bristol Dragway, winning her first Funny Car round and ...
Melanie Troxel Scores First Funny Car Victory In Rain Troubled Thunder Valley Nationals
BRISTOL, Tenn., May 18, 2008 -- Melanie Troxel completed an incredible turnaround Sunday at Bristol Dragway, winning her first Funny Car round and adding three more in succession to win the Thunder Valley Nationals in a stunning performance during a wet, wild and long day.
She drove the Gotham City Racing ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T to wins over defending Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, Ashley Force, Jim Head and fellow category rookie driver Mike Neff in the title round. The milestone was the fifth victory of her career, including four in Top Fuel. Troxel is the 14th NHRA driver to record wins in both Top Fuel and Funny Car and the first woman to do so. Her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., also has wins in both categories.
And, she became the second woman to win in Funny Car, two races after Ashley Force.
Troxel, who qualified for four of her first eight races this year, looked comfortable driving the car on each run. She was in control when the car was moving around in the first two rounds and then she showed she could finesse it by pedaling the throttle in the semifinal and final rounds.
The team had struggled early in the season but began getting more in sync two weeks ago at St. Louis and that carried over to this race. With crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald calling the tuning shots, Troxel took care of the rest.
She wasn't bothered when Neff's car experienced starting-line difficulties and when her car shook the tires, she pedaled it and overhauled Neff as his car's engine expired. The winning time was 5.066 seconds at 310.27 mph to 6.471 at 146.21 mph.
"You just try to keep your cool when he was having problems," she said. " The only thing that crossed my mind at the time was that I don't want to win this way. I didn't want them to shut him off. I was glad we were both able to get up there and run."
She didn't get frustrated, either, when intermittent rain earlier in the day played havoc with eliminations.
"It was crazy out there," Troxel said after she and Pedregon twice did burn outs only to be shut off by rain. "I think I was in the car five times and did three burnouts" before she was able to make the first run. "I've never seen anything like that happen before."
By the numbers, Troxel defeated Pedregon, 4.816 to 4.827; Ashley Force, 4.820 to 4.863; Jim Head, 5.639 to 29.548 in the semifinals.