Infinenon Raceway Sears Point
Troxel's tune-up goes away in first-round action at Sonoma
After completing one of her best qualifying efforts of the season and buoyed by the support of the rabid fans at Infineon Raceway, Melanie Troxel was expecting big things from her In-N-Out Burger Toyota Solara during Sunday's 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals. Unfortunately, the car threw her a curveball in the opening session and she was upset by Paul Lee, who prior to the race hadn't won a single round all year.
Troxel was first on the gas and led the race past the first two timers, but just before the eighth-mile mark her car unexpectedly smoked its tires, allowing Lee to roar past and take the stripe. The numbers showed Lee with a 4.166 at 305.49 mph to Troxel's resigned 4.913 at 172.06 mph.
"We weren't expecting that," Troxel said. "From everything we had seen up there, the (Top Fuel) dragsters were all running better than their qualifying times. We were tuned up to run the same sort of numbers we ran in qualifying (4.108 at 308.07 mph). Unfortunately, there was something inconsistent in the way the car ran. It was trying to run faster than what we ran in qualifying. We're still trying to track down why that happened.
"Obviously, it's a letdown. The guys work just as hard for a loss as they do for a win and after qualifying No. 4 on the ladder we certainly expected more from the day. It's frustrating when things like this happen."
Looking for a bright spot, Troxel pointed to the extra time she'll now have to spend with the In-N-Out Burger fans that have crowded her pit all weekend.
"The fans have been great here," she said. "Completely over the top with their support. We're really sorry to let them down on the racetrack today but I think they know we tried our hardest to give them a good showing."
By: r2b2 racing