Indianapolis: Troxel makes impressive U.S. Nationals run

Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 4): Starting her first race in the Exide Batteries Top Fuel dragster, Melanie Troxel made an impressive run to the semifinals in her first U.S. Nationals Top Fuel start. Troxel has started in the top half of the field...

Indianapolis, Ind. (Sept. 4): Starting her first race in the Exide Batteries Top Fuel dragster, Melanie Troxel made an impressive run to the semifinals in her first U.S. Nationals Top Fuel start.

Troxel has started in the top half of the field in all four of her starts this year. Troxel began the day as the No. 6 qualifier and faced Don Lampus in the first round of eliminations. Troxel easily defeated Lampus with a 4.735 e.t. at 267.59 mph.

"She was on a much better pass than that until she lost her blower belt," explained crew chief Dan Olson.

Troxel's second round opponent was Bob Vandergriff. This time the Exide dragster was flawless as Troxel piloted it down the track with a 4.659 e.t. at 320.13 mph in the right lane. Both e.t. and mph were personal bests for the Colorado driver.

In the semi's, Troxel had regained lane choice and faced No. 15 qualifier and former Funny Car driver, Gary Clapshaw. From the minute the car was started there was an apparent problem with Troxel's dragster. A heavy fog of fuel coming from header pipe indicated the cylinder was not burning fuel. This meant Troxel would have to hope of a miracle if her underpowered car would win the round.

Clapshaw ran a 4.684 to Troxel's 4.659 e.t. to head to the finals to face Troxel's teammate, Tony Schumacher.

"It would have been great to have the two Don Schumacher Racing cars in the finals," said a disappointed Troxel, "but this team did a great job getting this far in the short amount of time we had to put this deal together."

The next event for the Exide Batteries dragster will be in two weeks in Reading, Pennsylvania for the Keystone Nationals.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Melanie Troxel , Don Lampus , Bob Vandergriff , Don Schumacher