Championship Drag Racing

NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
(April 6-9)

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Driver Profile
Melanie Troxel
In-n-Out Burger Dodge R/T

Troxel's confidence rises with every round win

Las Vegas, pre-race: With every round win, not to mention the five straight final-round appearances she's made in as many NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel events dating back to November 2005, Melanie Troxel's confidence in the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels team continues to build, as the series comes to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for the Nationals.

Despite occasional qualifying dramas, she applauds team owner Don Schumacher, crew chief Richard Hogan and the Skull Gear crew for giving her a car that can go rounds on race day. With one win under her belt and even with a deduction of 25 penalty points for two oildowns, Troxel holds a hefty 128-point lead over Larry Dixon.

"It's kind of funny the way we struggled in qualifying this year but have been able to turn it around and do so well on race day," she says. "Normally you get your confidence from just having that consistency and running well all weekend long.

"Because of that I don't worry too much if the track changes or something is different, because I have a lot of confidence in the fact that Richard will figure it out and have the car ready to go down the track on Sunday.

"We're excited to get on the track here. Just a week ago I was thinking that we can't possibly keep up this pace and I was almost bracing myself for a first-round loss. I thought that this was just too good to be true; fate's going to get me back. Now that we've gone to yet another final round, it's just given me the confidence to think that we can keep up this pace."

Each of the first five tracks she has raced on and will race on is unique, as the teams continue to adapt to a new tire mandated by Goodyear. "The Strip is a very nice facility," said Troxel. "It's a little bit of an altitude track. I don't know if we expect to see huge numbers here, but certainly we'll see a lot of really good racing. I think the more passes all of the teams get on this new tire the better the racing is going to be."


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