Indianapolis: Melanie Troxel debuts

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 29): After sitting out much of her inaugural Top Fuel season, Melanie Troxel will make her debut as the newest driver for Don Schumacher Racing at the U.S. Nationals. Teaming up with 1999 NHRA Top Fuel Champion, Tony...

Indianapolis, Ind. (August 29): After sitting out much of her inaugural Top Fuel season, Melanie Troxel will make her debut as the newest driver for Don Schumacher Racing at the U.S. Nationals. Teaming up with 1999 NHRA Top Fuel Champion, Tony Schumacher, Troxel will take over the reigns of the Exide Batteries Top Fuel dragster.

"We are very excited to have Melanie join our team," said team owner, Don Schumacher, "she will be a great representative for our race team and for our sponsors."

Troxel, who hails from Littleton, CO, switched to the Top Fuel class this year after four seasons in Federal-Mogul Dragster. In 1999, the 28-year-old won national events in Seattle and Topeka. She also has four career final rounds to her credit, with a career best E.T. of 4.664 and a career best speed of 316.15 mph.

"This race is very special to me," commented Troxel, "my dad won his first alcohol dragster race here in 1987 and was qualified No. 1."

Troxel competed in the first three races of the 2000 and made an impressive start before she was sidelined. Melanie qualified fifth in Phoenix with an excellent 4.67 at 315, drawing Rhonda Hartman in round one. Her 4.75 at 316 edged Hartman's quicker 4.70 at 306 by just .001 seconds. She nearly upset reigning champ and now teammate, Tony Schumacher in round two, but her 4.72 at 312 fell just short of Schumacher's 4.68 at 310.

"She was there with me the whole way," noted Schumacher.  "It was too close 
for comfort.  She fits right in and has a lot of experience from other 
classes.  She'll be a tough racer and a great teammate."

"This is a great opportunity for me," added Troxel, "to be with a team that is running for their second championship and to be able to work with a crew chief like Dan Olson is more than I could ask for in my first year in Top Fuel."

Troxel's first U.S. Nationals Top Fuel start will be begin on Friday, September 1 with a press conference in the Schumacher hospitality area at 1:00pm. The first round of Top Fuel qualifying will begin Friday evening.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Melanie Troxel