Denver: Melanie Troxel preview

TOP FUEL POINTS LEADER TROXEL MARKS FIRST ANNIVERSARY WITH DSR IN DENVER MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2006) - Melanie Troxel has had a remarkable year with Don Schumacher Racing since rejoining the team (following a brief stint with DSR in 2000) ...

TOP FUEL POINTS LEADER TROXEL MARKS FIRST ANNIVERSARY WITH DSR IN DENVER

MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2006) - Melanie Troxel has had a remarkable year with Don Schumacher Racing since rejoining the team (following a brief stint with DSR in 2000) full-time last year at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

This weekend's event at Bandimere Speedway will mark her one-year anniversary with DSR and will bring Troxel home to her native Colorado, where she was born and raised in Littleton.

Driving the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster, Troxel has led the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points standings since the first race of the season, became the first NHRA Top Fuel driver to reach the final round in the first five events of a season, has won twice, and has received an unprecedented amount of media attention throughout the sports and mainstream worlds.

Despite the media frenzy, including a trip to Los Angeles for Wednesday night's ESPYS Awards, where she's been nominated for Driver of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, Troxel is firmly planted on earth and focused on winning her first Top Fuel championship. With 11 races remaining in the season, she is 24 points ahead of a hard-charging Doug Kalitta.

"It's been an incredible change of events in the past 12 months," said Troxel. "I got the call a couple of weeks before last year's Denver event to come drive for Don Schumacher and Evan Knoll. Not only did I get the opportunity to get back into a Top Fuel seat with a first-rate team, but we've really topped that off with the incredible season we are having so far."

With the start of this upcoming three-race, back-to-back Western Swing and the last half of the season beginning to wind down to the finish line, this is a crucial time for Troxel.

"This is really when it starts to get down to crunch time," she said. "A lot of people also seem to build up momentum on the Swing. You can make huge changes in the points over this period of time. I think it is important to get that momentum moving in the right direction right off the bat with a win in Denver.

"We're heading into my hometown track and we've got a season's worth of experience. I'm looking forward to continuing on, and winning here would obviously be great.

"It's always nice to return to your hometown track and see everybody. It does add a little extra pressure because you don't always get to spend as much time with people as you would like. But, I'm looking forward to catching up with some friends and family, and hopefully we can put on a good show for them."

As for the trip to L.A. for the ESPYS Awards with husband Tommy Johnson Jr.: "It has been a little stressful over the last couple of weeks trying to get our schedule planned around that," she said, "and, of course, buying a dress and things like that. But, now we we will get to experience it, which is the best part."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Don Schumacher , Tommy Johnson Jr.