TROXEL SLIPS IN SONOMA, IS ELIMINATED IN FIRST ROUND SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Melanie Troxel endured another difficult stop en route to her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship today at the Fram-Autolite Nationals.
TROXEL SLIPS IN SONOMA, IS ELIMINATED IN FIRST ROUND
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Melanie Troxel endured another difficult stop en route to her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship today at the Fram-Autolite Nationals. After leading the point standings for the first 12 events of the season, the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster has dropped to 82 points behind leader Doug Kalitta (semifinalist today) following her third consecutive first-round loss in eliminations.
She will also be looking over her shoulder in the upcoming races, as runner-up today Tony Schumacher is now just 44 points behind her in third.
No. 10 qualifier Troxel faced rookie Hillary Will in the opening stanza, a driver against whom she had a 2-0 round-winning season record. On a hot sticky track, Troxel struck the tires early, crossing the finish line in 6.637 seconds at 127.26 mph. Will had traction issues also, but reached the stripe first, in 4.976 seconds at 236.13 mph.
"I thought we had a pretty good shot out there this morning," said Troxel. "A lot of people struggled to get down the track, and we were one of them. We got through what is usually the tough spot early in the run, but just before half-track the Skull Shine car started to smoke the tires.
"We weren't able to recover and get around Hillary. They smoked the tires too, but it was further down track and they were able to hang on.
"We finished the Western Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.) with another first-round loss, which is disappointing, but we have a few weeks now to regroup and get ready for Brainerd.
"There is still a lot of season left, and we're not going to lose focus on trying to win the championship. Richard (Hogan, crew chief) is working on a few things with the clutch disks that could definitely work in our favor."
Said Richard Hogan: "We'll go to Brainerd and get started again. We have a whole new set of clutch disks that I think will be a big help for the rest of the season. We switched over to them this weekend, so we have the transition out of the way. We'll be OK."
Next up for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 11-13, 2006.