Memphis: Melanie Troxel preview

Troxel aims for Funny Car win at Memphis To go with her 2007 Top Fuel victory Melanie Troxel returns to Memphis Motorsports Park as the 2007 Mid-South Nationals Top Fuel champion, but she isn't the defending titleholder because she spent all of...

Troxel aims for Funny Car win at Memphis To go with her 2007 Top Fuel victory

Melanie Troxel returns to Memphis Motorsports Park as the 2007 Mid-South Nationals Top Fuel champion, but she isn't the defending titleholder because she spent all of 2008 at the controls of the R2B2 Racing Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

But the memories of her fourth and final dragster victory here linger, providing the impetus for her goal of making it two wins in a row at MMP. The 21st edition of the event runs Friday through Sunday.

Although her first foray into NHRA Funny Car competition was fraught with inconsistency early, crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald recently came up a combination that has the potential to yield the kind of consistent elapsed times that produce race wins.

"The car is definitely more consistent now, and when it doesn't get down the track, the problem area is in the same place," said Troxel. "It's not like there are three different variables in play. We have one spot on the track."

As the beginning of fall heralds a time when leaves begin changing colors, it also signals the impending end of the POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship. Four more races remain before champions are crowned in NHRA's professional categories. Troxel did not qualify for the 10-driver finale so the team is using the events to begin fine-tuning a racing combination for next season.

"For us, it's disappointing because we want to go rounds and we want to win races but, at the same time, we don't have to worry about the championship," Troxel said. "It is research and development time for us. As long as we are learning something from it, then we are still moving in the right direction."

The bright spot in Troxel's educational season was her first Funny Car victory. It came at Bristol, Tenn. (May 18), and enabled her to join a baker's dozen of competitors who have won national events in Top Fuel and Funny Car. She is, of course, the only female in the group that includes her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr.

Another trip to the winner's circle in 2008 would provide a fitting end to this unpredictable campaign.

"The guys have a pretty good idea of what they want to do at Memphis," Troxel concluded. "We still have a car that runs really good early. We just have one problem to fix and we'll have a very good car."

-credit: r2b2

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Melanie Troxel , Tommy Johnson Jr.