Frank Hawley qualifies second, Melanie Troxel 15th setting up first-round meeting of teammates READING, Pa., August 16, 2008 -- Teammates Frank Hawley and Melanie Troxel begin Toyo Tires Nationals eliminations Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway by...
Frank Hawley qualifies second, Melanie Troxel 15th setting up first-round meeting of teammates
READING, Pa., August 16, 2008 -- Teammates Frank Hawley and Melanie Troxel begin Toyo Tires Nationals eliminations Sunday at Maple Grove Raceway by racing each other.
Hawley's 4.128-second elapsed time from Friday remained No. 2 through Saturday's final two qualifying rounds while Troxel's best run of 4.225 seconds on her last attempt put her 15th overall.
Moreover, this is the first time Hawley and the Rite Aid Pharmacies Dodge Charger R/T team have raced in two months.
"The better you qualify, the more people expect you to do well," said Hawley, who came to Reading hoping to be somewhere in the starting lineup. "But the fact is, qualifying is what you really have to do. We've seen so many cars at so many different races where the fastest qualifier doesn't win because the competition is so tight.
"We are really happy we got the Rite Aid Dodge Charger qualified -- and we are happy we qualified well, up at the top of the field. Sunday is different, though. You almost start at square one again. What we are concentrating on now is getting the car prepared well for the race. We don't feel like there's any reason to try to break any records, we just want to turn on the win light a few times.
"Both cars are owned by Roger Burgess, and it's too bad you have to run your teammate, but the positive side is that one of Roger's cars will be in the second round."
Troxel, meanwhile, didn't solidify her position in the top 16 until her last run.
"It's never a good feeling going into Saturday not in the starting field and it is really nerve wracking going into the last session knowing you aren't in and you need to get the car down the track," Troxel said. "But everybody did their job and we got two runs down the track and ended up 15th. That's not where we wanted to be, but we have a lot more information than we had Friday.
"I was joking with the guys after the run and said, 'just call the boss and say there's good new and there's bad news.' We just look on the positive side. That means that one of us is going to the second round.
"We are going to have to step up our game a little bit. Even though we are teammates, their car ran really good numbers right away Friday and we have yet to run in the 4-teens (elapsed times)."
Hawley concluded with: "Clearly, I'd like to race Melanie in the finals, but that's not going to happen. I just hope one of us is in the finals."