Bristol: Melanie Troxel preview

TROXEL'S DRAGSTER TAKES ON NEW LOOK IN BRISTOL Becomes Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel Dragster BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 24, 2006) - A new line of Skull Shine car-care automotive products will be featured in a unique color scheme on the ...

Becomes Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel Dragster

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 24, 2006) - A new line of Skull Shine car-care automotive products will be featured in a unique color scheme on the Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel dragster driven by Melanie Troxel, beginning at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway this weekend. The car will sport the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels designation as Troxel seeks to continue her season-long string of successes.

There's no doubt that Melanie Troxel is flying somewhere in the stratosphere following her sixth straight Top Fuel final-round appearance dating back to the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season-ending event in 2005.

The level-headed Top Fuel points leader and two-time winner so far credits a solid team and crew chief Richard Hogan for making the right calls at the right time, as she looks forward to the season's sixth event this weekend.

She is also proud to display the new paint scheme promoting the Skull Shine line. "Without the support of Skull Gear and Torco Race Fuels, we would not be in this unique position of leading the Top Fuel points," she says. "I hope we can continue this streak for Skull Shine and everyone at Torco Race Fuels."

"We are honored and proud to be affiliated with Melanie Troxel, Don Schumacher Racing and the No. 1 Top Fuel team in drag racing," says Evan Knoll, president/CEO/owner of Knoll Gas. "This is a golden opportunity to utilize their on-track achievements to promote our six exciting Skull Shine automotive products."

The Skull Shine design will be displayed on both the original dragster body as well as a new one-piece body this weekend. "A lot of the teams have run this one-piece body," explains Troxel. "I don't know what all the benefits are, but certainly with the situation we had in Las Vegas, where we lost several body panels off the right side of the car, it should keep that type of thing from happening. I also think there are other benefits. It's something that Richard had considered doing previously and I think this is just the right time."

Troxel, who rejoined Don Schumacher Racing mid-year in 2005, is relishing not only her first full season in Top Fuel competition but a sturdy 156-point lead in the standings. While it's certainly not in the team plan, even if she sat out this weekend's race, she would still be in the points lead - a remarkable feat this early in an NHRA season.

So, what is the team plan? "The plan is to try not to put too much pressure on ourselves," says Troxel, "but certainly to keep adding points to our points total. We know that things can change and we may not continue to reach every final round or win another race, but we definitely have to keep going rounds in order to be able to maintain this position for the long term."

As the summer months loom, weather changes are always a consideration, even during early spring at Bristol Dragway. "The weather is eventually going to change," Troxel adds. "That's been one of the big questions on everybody's mind with the new tire (mandated by Goodyear and NHRA), and whether or not it's going to be even harder to get down the track. But I'm not really expecting that to happen quite this soon, but eventually it will.

"We're still doing some testing here and there hoping to get some experience on that. If it does happen this weekend, I have confidence in Richard's ability to figure that out.

"Richard is one of those crew chiefs who has worked at a lot of different places and has had some pretty incredible jobs. He worked with 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits for a lot of years. He certainly knows what he's doing. In recent years, he's bounced around to a couple of different places tuning cars and maybe hasn't gotten the attention that he should, even when those cars have run really well.

"I think he's finally getting the credit that's been due him for a while. Of course, we are running Alan Johnson's (three-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher's crew chief) basic tune-up, and using a lot of his parts and pieces. That has a certain amount to do with it.

"I think Richard has done a great job on Sundays racing the track. Maybe we haven't dominated qualifying and run low ET of every race, but he does a great job of racing the track and doing whatever it takes in any given round to beat the car in the other lane."


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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Don Garlits , Melanie Troxel , Don Schumacher