Denver: Melanie Troxel final summary

TROXEL OUSTED IN DENVER FIRST ROUND, RELINQUISHES POINTS LEAD MORRISON, Colo. (July 16, 2006) - Colorado native Melanie Troxel did not have the homecoming she wished for today after being knocked out of the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in the first...

TROXEL OUSTED IN DENVER FIRST ROUND, RELINQUISHES POINTS LEAD

MORRISON, Colo. (July 16, 2006) - Colorado native Melanie Troxel did not have the homecoming she wished for today after being knocked out of the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at Bandimere Speedway, her hometown track. With the loss, she also yielded the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points lead, which she had held through the first 12 events of the season.

With Doug Kalitta's loss to Troxel's teammate Tony Schumacher in the semifinal, Troxel is now in second, 22 points behind Kalitta.

She entered eliminations in the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster as the No. 12 qualifier and faced off against David Grubnic in the first round. She nailed a solid .087 (of a second) reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Grubnic's .100 and was heading for a victory until half-track, when the engine started popping and banging. Grubnic grabbed the win with a 4.847/304.19, while Troxel slowed to a 5.247/220.44. Margin of victory: .3871 of a second.

"The Skull Shine car was on a good run, and then it dropped three cylinders (two left, one right), which is kind of along the lines of what we've been doing here all weekend," said Troxel. "It's only one time a year we run this kind of altitude (5,860 feet above sea level), then on top of it, we have to face 100-degree-plus temperatures," she added about the unusually hot conditions the teams faced this weekend in Denver.

The team battled tough conditions all weekend. "We started out the weekend and made a couple passes before we decided what we were doing wasn't working, and we needed to make some pretty big changes," said Troxel, who celebrated her one-year anniversary with Don Schumacher Racing this weekend. "We started making changes on the third qualifying pass, and we were seeing improvement. We just didn't have quite enough passes to get it all sorted out.

"I feel like we were kind of behind the 8-ball all weekend. We didn't really have a good setup coming into this event, so that hurt us. When we came here last year it was our first event as a team, so we were using all hand-me-down parts and equipment, and what we had did not really translate to the new equipment we are running this year."

On her falling to second in the points for the first time this season: "The last couple of races we've had that points lead narrowing and narrowing, and everyone was commenting on it. This may not be a bad thing; it will kind of get that off our back. Now, Doug can be the leader and have that. There's still plenty of races left and I know that this Skull Shine team still has a lot left in it. It's a little disappointing to not have the lead, but in the end, it might be a blessing.

"It's sad to say this because it's my hometown track, but we are looking forward to getting out of here and going to Seattle."

Troxel travels to Seattle, Wash., next for the Schuck's NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways, July 21-23.

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Don Schumacher