TROXEL TURNS PERFORMANCE AROUND; GRUBNIC, ANDERSON, ELLIS ALSO LEAD AFTER FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING MADISON, Ill. -- Melanie Troxel's black clouds lifted literally and figuratively during Friday qualifying at Gateway International...
TROXEL TURNS PERFORMANCE AROUND; GRUBNIC, ANDERSON, ELLIS ALSO LEAD AFTER FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING
MADISON, Ill. -- Melanie Troxel's black clouds lifted literally and figuratively during Friday qualifying at Gateway International Raceway.
Troxel drove her ProCare Rx Dodge Charger to a 4.802-second pass at 327.59 mph to lead the NHRA POWERade Series Funny Car field into the second day of qualifying at the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Castrol after early morning thunderstorms.
Her Dodge started to skate on the track but Troxel never lifted off the throttle for her best run of the year, after making the field only twice in six races so far this season.
Troxel won this event in 2007 while still in Top Fuel.
"We definitely had way too good of a team to be running the way we've been running, and we knew just over the last couple of races that we were turning the corner," Troxel said. "We could see the performance coming around, we knew it was going to change, it was just a matter of time, when that would happen. This track was really good to me last year, so it's perfect that this is the race where we got it turned around."
Dave Grubnic piloted his Kalitta Motorsports dragster to a 4.519 at 326.32 for the provisional No. 1 position.
"We're very happy with that run," Grubnic said. "It's good to be back. The run felt great. Watching the Funny Cars, they seemed to be struggling a lot, moving around and so forth. One of the things I paid attention to is making sure the car stayed in the groove. But honestly, I really didn't have to do anything. The car just went straight down there. Full credit to (team owner and crew chief) Connie Kalitta and all my guys. They did the job. They made the car run, they put the numbers in there. It's great to be back -- it's great to be No. 1."
Greg Anderson and his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP team believes ideal weather conditions Saturday will yield new No. 1 qualifiers, but Friday's runs provide key data for the future. He turned in a 6.646 at 206.83.
"(That run is) definitely going to go down tomorrow," Anderson said. "It's kind of a neat thing -- you come out this morning, and first of all we didn't think we'd get to run today, looking at the weather and this all happening, and we thought you know what? This is going to be a bonus day. This is going to be a fun day because no matter what we run today, it's probably not going to hold up tomorrow."
Chip Ellis will earn his first No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 13th of his career if his 6.957 at 190.22 on his Schumacher Racing Suzuki holds up.
"I tell you, as tough as the competition is anymore, whether you're No. 1 or 16, we can still win," Ellis said. "What a great day for Don Schumacher Racing and Schumacher Electric on our Suzuki. The first round we left a lot in it. This round we got it tuned up and running great