Indianapolis: Melanie Troxel preview

TROXEL EYES STRONG RESULTS AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. (Aug. 29, 2006) - Melanie Troxel, who led the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points through the first 12 events of the 2006 season, is in the middle of a four-way battle for...

TROXEL EYES STRONG RESULTS AT U.S. NATIONALS

CLERMONT, Ind. (Aug. 29, 2006) - Melanie Troxel, who led the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points through the first 12 events of the 2006 season, is in the middle of a four-way battle for her first championship in that class, as the season winds down to six races remaining, including this weekend's prestigious U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

It's a tight fight for the crown among points leader Doug Kalitta, Troxel's DSR teammate Tony Schumacher, Brandon Bernstein and Troxel, with 158 points separating first from fourth.

With two wins under her belt, Troxel would like to add the U.S. Nationals to that list while matching her late dad Mike Troxel's 1987 victory here in Alcohol Dragster.

"Indy is obviously the most prestigious race of the year, and behind winning the championship it's the biggest thing you can do in your season," said Troxel, who drives the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster in her first full season in that class. "It goes without saying that it's an important race.

"It's also the first national event my dad ever won. It was a big event for him. I've come to this race throughout my Sportsman career and have run here in Top Fuel and would really love to be able to add a win at Indy to my resume."

Troxel also wants to overcome her five first-round losses in the last seven events and get back on top of the standings. Kalitta, Schumacher and Bernstein have come on strong in the second half of the season, while Troxel's efforts have faltered. "It's a very close race still," she said, "and we've been saying for a few races now that we really need to turn the second half of our season around and we are seeing improvement in the performance of the car. We're just having other problems along the way that are keeping us from putting together a winning day.

"Indy is as good a race as any to turn that around, and we had some really good incremental numbers in testing here (last week), even though we never ran it to the finish line," said Troxel, who will turn 34 on Aug. 31. "So, we're very optimistic going into the race that we can run well. The forecast looks great. They're calling for 80-degree temperatures throughout the weekend. That will give us great conditions to work with."

Troxel made seven passes in testing at ORP. "On the first four we intentionally only took the car to half-track or 1000 ft.," she explained. "In the last three the plan was to run it to the finish line if possible, but it either dropped a cylinder or some other problem surfaced that kept me from running it to the finish line. We had really good incremental numbers until then. The numbers showed we would have run a low 4.50 (-second elapsed time) and that was during the daytime runs. We never smoked the tires."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein