Phoenix: Melanie Troxel Friday rain notes

Students' Cheer Keep Troxel's spirits high despite Rain CHANDLER, ARIZ. (February 22, 2008) - In a city that averages only seven inches of rainfall annually, water is a precious commodity, but for drag racing fans, any amount of the liquid ...

Students' Cheer Keep Troxel's spirits high despite Rain

CHANDLER, ARIZ. (February 22, 2008) - In a city that averages only seven inches of rainfall annually, water is a precious commodity, but for drag racing fans, any amount of the liquid sunshine can disappoint their plans of listening to the thundering nitro and watching the lightning-fast cars. ProCare Rx Dodge Charger driver Melanie Troxel's spirits were not dampened today , however, when persistent light rain showers forced the cancellation of the first day of qualifying at the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway. She said her time Thursday with students at a local-area elementary school helped carry her through the day despite the clouds.

The 35-year-old four-time Top Fuel event winner spent several hours on Thursday morning with almost 300 third and fourth graders at Desert Sage Elementary School in the Deer Valley area, about 30 miles north of the track. Sharing her story of dreams and success with the students, Troxel said their energy helped her through the dreary day on Friday.

"I love spending time with kids because it gives me a different perspective on what I do. I get to see it with their eyes, and I love that. We showed them some footage of our race in Pomona, and to hear them cheer was especially fun, because I never get to hear a crowd's reaction from inside the car.

"We also talked about safety and how important it is to always wear seatbelts in the car and helmets when they ride their bikes. I think that really hit home because we had showed them the footage of Tony Pedregon's fire in Pomona and how he was able to walk away because he was so well protected," she said.

When she finished her time, she received a resounding response from the students, who shouted together, "Good Luck Melanie!"

"That's the kind of stuff that keeps you going sometimes," the Funny Car rookie said.

"I'd much rather be racing, don't misunderstand me, but I try to find some positive things about the down-time. It actually gave me a chance to talk with the fans who braved it through the sprinkles and rain. So many times you can't really have a full conversation, so today was a nice break. You've got to make lemonade out of lemons, right?

"When we were here for pre-season testing, we had a lot of difficulty making laps at all because we were still getting everything put together. We qualified well in Pomona, and our test sessions really went well in Vegas last week, so I know everyone on the team is excited about getting down the track here in Phoenix and going rounds on Sunday.

"Tomorrow, we basically have two shots to make the show, and I'm confident the team has a great hotrod ready to go," Troxel said.

Troxel said she will definitely think of the students' cheer tomorrow when she attempts to qualify.

-credit: gcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Melanie Troxel