Troxel, 2007 Midwest Nationals Top Fuel Winner, Returns in ProCare Rx Dodge Funny Car in 2008 The timeworn theory that if one is good, two are better is a point well-taken in NHRA professional racing camps. Two cars provide twice as much...
Troxel, 2007 Midwest Nationals Top Fuel Winner, Returns in ProCare Rx Dodge Funny Car in 2008
The timeworn theory that if one is good, two are better is a point well-taken in NHRA professional racing camps. Two cars provide twice as much data and that, in turn, should improve performances.
In her first season behind the wheel of a Funny Car, Melanie Troxel has been learning the nuances of the Gotham City Racing ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T. The lessons are good ones and -- based on the numbers she ran last week at Atlanta -- she is on the cusp of competitive elapsed times.
She will find out Friday when the three-day O'Reilly Midwest Nationals begins at Gateway International Raceway in nearby Madison, Ill. And she will have a teammate with whom to compare notes -- team co-owner Mike Ashley, who is making his second 2008 Funny Car appearance, driving the Lend America/Gotham City Racing Dodge Charger R/T for at least the next five POWERade Series events.
Ashley, a three-time winner last year, said he wanted to take advantage of the two-car concept by racing and providing more data for the crew chiefs. Two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Frank Hawley drove the car at two events this year, including at Atlanta last weekend.
Ordinarily, the pre-race focus on Troxel would be as the defending race Top Fuel winner. Gateway Raceway was the site of her third career win last year and she followed it with a win at Memphis. But she isn't glancing in the rearview mirror despite getting off to a slow start this season in her new category.
"It's always good to come back to a track where you won before," she said. "We are close" to getting a consistent tune-up. "If you look at the way the two cars ran last weekend, we were incredibly consistent. We went down the track each of the four (qualifying) runs, and then just missed qualifying. We just need to make those last couple of tweaks to the tune-up."
Her best time was 4.971 seconds, but she needed to run better than 4.939 seconds.
She believes she has a better opportunity this weekend.