Troxel's ProCare Rx Funny Car team finds remedy in chassis fix
ATLANTA -- Funny Car racer Melanie Troxel shook off a season-long slump and successfully qualified Roger Burgess' ProCare Rx Toyota Solara Funny Car in the field of the 31st annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals.
A resident of nearby Duluth, Ga., Troxel used a 4.148 at 305.15 mph to earn her first elimination field berth of the year. Crew chief Aaron Brooks and newly-hired R&D man John Medlen pinpointed a chassis problem during the Houston race and the team has worked diligently to get Troxel's Camry up to speed by this weekend. The group also has a new car on order and should have it ready in the next few weeks.
"The way we started the season has been a huge stress on everybody," Troxel said. "We all feel really good to be racing on Sunday. You can see the light back in everyone's eyes. It was such a big relief to put that number on the board Friday night because we knew it was good enough to keep us qualified.
"We would have loved to been able to come out today and make a couple of big runs. I really believe the reason we smoking the tires is because we're not in the groove. With the changes we made on the chassis I'm having a hard time putting the car where I want it to be. We'll keep working on that, but at least the mysterious tire smoke we've had at previous races is gone."
Troxel will enter race day as the No. 9 qualifier, which sets up a first-round match-up with drag racing instructor "Fast" Jack Beckman, who posted a best of 4.135 at 307.65 mph. As the higher qualified car, Beckman will hold the advantage of lane choice against Troxel, which could be a distinct advantage on a greasy racetrack that may get washed clean overnight if the forecasted rain showers drench the area.
In Pro Mod action, Troxel made the elimination field as the second alternate. Her best qualifying effort of 6.167 seconds at 240.34 mph in her RoadRage.com '68 Camaro was .008 seconds off the necessary pace, but when Pat Musi pulled out with an injury and Chip King couldn't repair his car after major engine damage suffered in the final qualifying session, Troxel slipped into the field in the 15th position.
We all feel really good to be racing on Sunday.
The extra session was exactly what Troxel and crew chief Bob Newberry needed as she streaked to a huge upset win over No. 2 qualifier Mike Janis, running a 6.014 at 243.24 mph to get around Janis' 6.095 at 239.36 mph.
"We struggled a bit this weekend but sooner or later you knew we'd get this car down the track," Troxel said. "They gave us one run too many and we got it figured out.
"We got the word we were reinserted in the field when the Pro Mod cars were in the staging lanes. If not for that long oildown (during Funny Car qualifying) we wouldn't have had time to get the car back together. The transmission was out of it and they'd already rolled it onto the back door to put it away. They guys did a great job there."
-source: r2b2 racing