Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Troxel bags first Funny Car round win of the year
Melanie Troxel and her R2B2 Funny Car teammates enjoyed a victory of sorts Sunday by logging their first elimination-round win of the season at the 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals. Naturally, winning the event is the goal, but after struggling for the first few months of the year, progress is measured in small steps.
"It's exciting to get a round win any time," said Troxel, one of just 14 racers and the only female in history to win in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. "To get the first round win of the year pumped everybody up.
"I heard the guys on the radio read me the time but I couldn't quite hear what they said. It wasn't until I read the time slip that I realized we ran a 4.07. That's our best ET of the year and my best in two years. To run our best numbers on race day and not the Friday night session when conditions are perfect gives us a great feeling as a team."
After qualifying a season-high fourth on the grid, Troxel posted a 4.071-second pass at 310.27 mph in her defeat of Paul Lee, who smoked his tires. She then got the jump on quarterfinal opponent Matt Hagan only to lose traction herself at 330 feet. Hagan had trouble further down the track but had enough momentum to win with a 4.217 at 241.15 mph against Troxel's coasting 5.011 at 164.25 mph.
"I don't think the plan was to get more aggressive with the car against Matt," she said. "We had a good car and the guys made a few tweaks. We think we hit a bump in the track that upset the car a little bit. Combine that with the little changes we made and it just put the car over the edge. We were trying to play it smart. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
"We would have loved to go another round or two. We're finally excited we've got a race car on race day. You have to get some breaks, but knowing we've got as good of a car as any out there lets you know you have a chance. It's the first time we've felt that way all season."
Up next on the NHRA Full Throttle Series schedule is the June 17-19 Ford Thunder Valley Nationals from Bristol Dragway. Troxel will race both her Funny Car and Pro Mod car at the event.