Troxel tuned up and ready for more round wins In Tennessee
After surviving a difficult Saturday at Bristol Dragway, Melanie Troxel looks forward to winning some rounds in both her ProCare Rx Toyota Camry Funny Car and her ProCare Rx Pro Mod Corvette in Sunday's eliminations of the 11th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Troxel raced her way into the Funny Car field in Saturday's final round of qualifying, making a solid pass of 4.151 seconds at 305.91 mph. She lines up 12th and will face Tim Wilkerson in Sunday's first round.
In Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series action, Troxel faces Mike Janis in Sunday's quarterfinal round after qualifying second and knocking off Mike Knowles Saturday evening.
"We absolutely need to go a few rounds in both of these cars," Troxel said. "We don't have perfect cars in either class, but we have good cars. That's leaps and bounds ahead of where we were just a few months ago. I feel good about race day. We need some round wins in both classes to move us up in the points.
"For Pro Mod, we're halfway through the season, and if we're going to have any shot at that championship, we've got to make a charge right now. In Funny Car, if we want to make the top 10 and vie for the Countdown to the Championship, we've got to go some rounds. That's the focus of both teams, go some rounds."
Troxel is 16th in Funny Car points but can still reach the Countdown to the Championship with solid performances this summer. This weekend, the ProCare Rx Toyota had a best pass of 5.487 seconds before the final qualifying session, though the car had more speed in it.
"We've been on pace on a couple of our runs to run big numbers, and we had things like the throttle cable fall off one pass, just crazy stuff," Troxel said. "But we knew the car could run really good numbers. It ran a .15 that last session, which isn't spectacular, but when you come into that last session, the smart thing to do is just get in the field, and that's what we did."
Troxel was able to focus on the task at hand and make a good run in qualifying. While her Funny Car hasn't strung together good runs like it did in Englishtown, Troxel has confidence from the final qualifying session.
"That just means we're saving them up for race day," Troxel said.
Troxel and the ProCare Rx Pro Mod team bounced back strong from disappointment in Englishtown, when she was eliminated in the first round after setting the world record in qualifying.
"I feel so much more comfortable in the car now in the staging procedure than I did last week," said Troxel, who sits 14th in Pro Mod points. "We were able to go test this week with (team owner) Roger Burgess' car and change the way I stage the car. This worked so much better for me. I feel great in the car.
"The car goes down the track and does its job. It's been sorted out for a long time, but I'm much more comfortable in the car now and excited about going into race day. Now that I've got a round win under my belt and know I'm comfortable with the staging procedure, I'm excited."
She advanced to the second round with a run of 6.007 seconds at 221.78 mph, though she was sweating the last hundred feet.
"Something went away in the engine at 1,100 feet," Troxel said. "That's a little nerve-wracking when you pass the other guy, and then the car basically shuts off. You're thinking, 'Oh, God, don't come back around me.'"
Troxel then had to watch as Burgess crashed in his run against Kenny Lang.
"Any time your teammate goes out and has an accident like that, it's tough on the whole team," Troxel said. "But we've got three R2B2 cars still in Pro Mod competition, and the Funny Car is ready to go. We're looking good for tomorrow."