Bristol: Melanie Troxel Saturday summary

TROXEL NOTCHES HER FIRST TOP FUEL CAREER POLE IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 29, 2006) - The 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season has been a series of stunning accomplishments for Melanie Troxel, driver of the Skull Shine/Torco Race ...

TROXEL NOTCHES HER FIRST TOP FUEL CAREER POLE IN BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 29, 2006) - The 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season has been a series of stunning accomplishments for Melanie Troxel, driver of the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing. She added to the list today by collecting her first career No. 1 Top Fuel qualifying spot at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

The Top Fuel points leader's pole-setting Friday night pass of 4.539 seconds at 324.05 mph held through two more qualifying sessions. Her other passes included a 4.673/299.46, a tire-smoking 6.028/144.01 and, finally, a 4.599/324.59.

"This is definitely an indication that our package is getting more solid," said Troxel. "I think we are just getting better and better as we go along.

"It was only a few races ago that we were struggling to get into the field, and even though we were having a lot of success on Sunday, you lose a lot of information by not getting down the track on all those qualifying passes. It also helps to be in the top half of the field and to theoretically have an easier draw.

"You come out on Friday and the game plan is to make a conservative run on that first pass to get in the field, so you have that leeway to go out and try some things. Friday night is obviously your one shot to go get that No. 1 qualifying spot. Saturday is when you really start working on (setup for) race conditions. That's your first time to see what a warm track will hold. That's when you really have to push it to see where that limit is to see how far you can go on Sundays."

Crew chief Richard Hogan, while pleased with the achievement, is realistic: "It's good for the team," he said, "but we've taken the approach this year that if you are qualified first to sixth you are in good shape for Sunday. I was a little concerned this morning when it was cool; I thought we might get bumped. But, we held on, so we get the check."

On Sunday Troxel will attempt to tie her teammate Tony Schumacher's record by reaching her seventh straight final round, dating back to the final race of 2005, sixth of the season.

The action begins at 12 p.m. on Sunday, as Troxel matches up against No. 16 qualifier Doug Foley in the first round of final eliminations.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Melanie Troxel , Doug Foley