Las Vegas: Melanie Troxel final summary

MELANIE TROXEL MAKES HISTORY IN LAS VEGAS, WINS SECOND TITLE OF YEAR LAS VEGAS (April 9, 2006) - Melanie Troxel continued her incredible streak of final-round appearances today at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas...


LAS VEGAS (April 9, 2006) - Melanie Troxel continued her incredible streak of final-round appearances today at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, by making it into her sixth straight final round, fifth of the season, and winning her second Top Fuel event of the year and her career.

Troxel became the first Top Fuel driver in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series history to reach the final round in five consecutive events at the start of a season. She is also just one final round short of matching her teammate Tony Schumacher's record of seven straight final-round appearances.

And the list goes on for Don Schumacher Racing: A DSR Top Fuel team (and there are only two) has been to 12 consecutive final rounds, dating back to Tony Schumacher's five finals at the end of 2005, to Troxel's five straight in 2006.

Troxel now leads Dave Grubnic by 156 points in the Top Fuel standings.

Troxel's victory over Grubnic in the final did not come easy, however, as a failed cylinder dropped her winning elapsed time to 4.837 seconds at 285.65 mph, while Grubnic lost traction to finish with a 4.987/319.60.

En route to her triumph, the Colorado native put together another set of consistent passes, first dismissing David Baca with a 4.577/328.14, then Morgan Lucas with a 4.542/323.12 and, in the semifinal, her 4.547/327.35 easily took care of Doug Kalitta.

"I just can't believe that we are going to this many final rounds," she said in the winner's circle. "It feels like a dream; it is just so incredible.

"You feel like you're being a little greedy by being so disappointed when you don't get the win," she said of "only" her second win in six finals. "We just wanted one more to go with that first win. Not that we needed to prove to anybody that it wasn't a fluke, but just one win is not enough. You want to be a multiple-event champion.

"I don't think we've quite been flawless," she added. "We struggled at times to qualify, we lost 25 points in Phoenix for oildowns, so we've had our problems, but when the chips are down the Skull Gear guys make it happen. It's a rare occurrence when we smoke the tires anymore.

"We thought that we would come out and win races this year, but to go to this many straight final rounds even when you're dominating - which I'm not sure we are - but even when you're dominating that's hard to do. It just seems right now like we can do no wrong.

"It's also a lot about the incredible group of people we have working on our team. Richard Hogan adapts to whatever race conditions are out there - cool weather, hot track. It doesn't seem to bother him any and my guys are just doing a great job of getting that car back together consistently without any mistakes, any errors, every pass we go up there.

"I keep waiting to wake up from this. Each week you think, OK, we can't keep this string going, and that has nothing to do with my confidence in the team. No matter how good you are, it's unlikely that you'll keep doing this. We keep thinking, All right, we're not going to be disappointed when this string ends and it surprises us as much as anybody every time we end up in the final.

"We've just got a great group of guys over here. Don Schumacher gives us incredible resources to work from. He gives you everything you need to get the job done, and it motivates you to go out and do well. Especially being teammates with the U.S. Army team. They definitely set the standard high. Last year we worked really hard trying to live up to that and we have finally seen that pay off this season."

On the final round: "Not every round is going to be picture perfect. It was a little ugly, but it was a win. Even at that, we dropped a cylinder, but we didn't go out and smoke the tires on any single pass today and I think you're going to have those fluke deals happen here and there with the tune-up. It wasn't running real well down there and blew up just past the finish line."

"It's been an unbelievable ride," said team owner Don Schumacher, "for all 12 of those (consecutive DSR final rounds) - and some of those were double-ups when Melanie was runner-up to Tony in the final. It's just been an incredible operation that this team, which includes the Army team and the Skull Gear team, has put together. They share a lot of information and they run a lot of the same parts, and I'm really thankful to Alan Johnson who has created this for me."

Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, April 28-30.


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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Schumacher , Doug Kalitta , David Baca , Melanie Troxel , Morgan Lucas , Don Schumacher