Dallas: Melanie Troxel Saturday summary

TROXEL REIGNS IN NO. 12 IN TEXAS QUALIFYING ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - Melanie Troxel qualified No. 12 at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex after four rounds of Top Fuel qualifying amid changing weather conditions, ...

TROXEL REIGNS IN NO. 12 IN TEXAS QUALIFYING

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - Melanie Troxel qualified No. 12 at the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex after four rounds of Top Fuel qualifying amid changing weather conditions, recording a final-session pass of 4.657 seconds at 319.52 mph.

Troxel, fourth in the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship standings, driving the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster, began her qualifying runs Friday with a pass of 4.762/314.97 and later a 6.765/116.08 after losing traction early in the run. Today's third session was delayed by rain showers before she posted a 4.803/299.46.

Rolling up to the staging lanes in the No. 12 spot for her final attempt, Troxel watched herself drop out of the field waiting to make her last pass. It was a nervous moment, but the two-time winner accomplished the task of getting down the quarter-mile and moved comfortably back into No. 12.

"This has been a strange race so far," she said. "We've seen a lot of cars that aren't necessarily usually in the field get in early, and a lot of good cars out of the field going into the last session.

"Unfortunately we just had to sit there and listen to car after car go out and click off good numbers. Before we rolled up there we were on the outside looking in, so it's a little bit of a nerve-wracking position to be in," offered the Colorado native.

"I knew that the car could run better. We've been having some problems with the car; we've been finding some metal pieces in the fuel system. So, we swapped out some stuff and replaced the fuel tank hoping we would solve that problem, and I knew that if we got that fixed the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels dragster would go down the track.

"We were hoping for a little better than that, but, at the same time, it was a nice conservative run to get into the field. We didn't need to take any chances and not make it in.

"The important part is that we are in for Sunday. Earlier this year we went a lot of rounds from the bottom-half of the field, so it's not a position we are unfamiliar with," said Troxel, who has reached three finals this season from the bottom-half (a win at Pomona 1 and runner-up finishes in Gainesville and Chicago).

"It should be cooler tomorrow with the cold front moving in. We do tend to have a better tune-up for cooler weather conditions, so that should help us. Hopefully now we've got some good data we can work with, and tune it up for tomorrow."

Troxel faces David Baca in the first round of eliminations. She is 2-0 against Baca this season.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca , Melanie Troxel