Dallas: Melanie Troxel preview

MELANIE TROXEL AIMS HIGH AT FAST TEXAS MOTORPLEX ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2006) - Melanie Troxel is aiming high at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. This is the site where in 2005 she qualified No.

MELANIE TROXEL AIMS HIGH AT FAST TEXAS MOTORPLEX

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2006) - Melanie Troxel is aiming high at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. This is the site where in 2005 she qualified No. 2 - her best result in her ninth race that year since re-joining Don Schumacher mid-season - and where she established herself as the quickest and fastest female in NHRA history with her 4.458-second elapsed time and a speed of 330.31 mph.

Since then, the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster has surpassed two of those stats, by upping her speed to 331.04 mph (Atlanta '06) and qualifying No. 1 two times in '06 (Bristol and Topeka). Also in '06 she became the First NHRA Top Fuel driver to reach the final round in the first five events of a season and had reached six consecutive final rounds dating back to the final event of 2005, before the string was snapped at the season's sixth event.

The Texas Motorplex is also where Troxel earned her first runner-up finish in Top Fuel, in 2000, when she competed in a limited number of events. So, returning here this weekend as she battles her way back from fourth place to the points lead, which she had held through the first 12 races, is her goal, as the season winds down to the final five events.

"This is definitely one of the tracks that we ran well at last year. It's nice to go back to a place where you know you had good success," says Troxel, who is 140 points out of the points lead, held by Doug Kalitta, and just 86 markers behind her teammate Tony Schumacher, in second. Right in front of her is Brandon Bernstein, 44 points ahead.

"When you start getting to the fall weather and the cooler air, you start seeing the cars run big numbers again, and that's always exciting.

"I've done well here. It's not something I can put a finger on and say why that is. The track has definitely been good to me over the years.

"I think the biggest factor that helps the cars run good at Dallas is the time of year. Being able to run here when it's cool plays a big factor in the performance of the car, but certainly if the track surface isn't there, it won't hold the kind of numbers that the crew chiefs are trying to run, and it doesn't do you any good. And this is definitely a good track."

As for the championship chase, "We haven't really lived up to our potential lately," she says, "but we're fortunate to still have a shot at the championship. But we are really going to need to see a big change - not so much in our performance, but in the results."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , Don Schumacher