Reading: Mechanical problem ends Troxel's day

Mohnton, Pa. (Sept. 17): After making the best qualifying start of her short Top Fuel career, Melanie Troxel was stopped by mechanical problems in the second round of the Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. Starting as the No. 3 ...

Mohnton, Pa. (Sept. 17): After making the best qualifying start of her short Top Fuel career, Melanie Troxel was stopped by mechanical problems in the second round of the Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Starting as the No. 3 qualifier, with a career best 4.576 e.t. at 312.57 mph, Troxel easily defeated Luigi Novelli in the first round of competition with a 4.910 e.t..

"That wasn't as quick as we hoped," said Troxel, "but a win is a win."

Troxel would have lane choice in the second round where she faced Doug Herbert. After Troxel completed her burnout and put the car into reverse, her Exide dragster darted backwards at an uncontrollable pace. At that speed, the front wheels turned and ripped the steering wheel from her hands.

She was forced to run down track with the throttle stop still in place in order not to hold up Doug Herbert, who had already staged his car. "The clutch bottle didn't have a charge," explained the disappointed Troxel, "and the clutch basically locked up one-to-one on the burnout. When the wheels turned on me, I must have hit the button for the parachute."

"Even if the wheels wouldn't have laid over we still would not have been able to make a real attempt at a pass," added crew chief, Dan Olson.

Troxel's team struggled throughout the weekend, but they were also to make her the quickest female in the history of the sport with her qualifying 4.57 e.t.. Next stop for the rookie driver and her teammates will be Topeka, Kansas for the 12th Annual Advance Auto Parts Nationals (Sept. 28 - Oct. 1).

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Melanie Troxel , Luigi Novelli