CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
Troxel goes to seventh final round
She wasn't able to convert it into a third victory, however, as a bizarre move over the centerline at the start by the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster resulted in a disqualification.
Despite that, Troxel maintained her lead over Doug Kalitta, who won that final round with a 4.503-second elapsed time at 330.23 mph, and now leads him by 71 points.
En route to the final, Troxel plowed expertly through the field by first dismissing David Grubnic with a solid 4.524-second pass at 327.19 mph, then Doug Herbert with another stout 4.505/319.98 lap, and Alan Bradshaw in the semifinal with her quickest pass of the weekend, a stellar 4.478/327.11.
"We had been running so good all day long that I really expected the Skull Shine dragster to go right down the groove," she said of the final. "It started shaking going into smoking the tires, and I tried to pedal it, but unfortunately the car was already turning a little bit when it smoked the tires the first time. When I put my foot down it smoked the tires again and let the back end break loose and turn hard towards the centerline.
"The car got sideways, and that is one of the more bizarre things to happen. But, I actually got the front end of the car back into our lane. It was the back tires that clipped (the centerline and the cone). That was a pretty wild ride in the car.
"It's unfortunate, but they (Kalitta and team) went out and ran a 4.50, so we would have had to go straight down the track without pedaling it to beat that. So, really crossing the centerline didn't really matter at that point.
"The Skull Shine guys did a great job this weekend, and we did everything we needed to do, except (win) the final round.
"Still a good weekend considering how we struggled to get qualified. We made a great rebound from qualifying. We lost 20 points to Doug, but we still hold the lead, and I feel really good about how the car ran today up to the final."
Said crew chief Richard Hogan: "We were trying to run a .45 or .46, but it didn't get that far. The sad part of it is it happened so soon and it didn't have anything to do with any of the adjustments we made. We did everything routine on the car before the run. It just went up there and smoked the tires. Melanie tried to pedal it, and she did a good job saving it when it got squirrelly.
"After yesterday's deal (making it into the field in the final qualifying session), it's great to be in the final," added Hogan. "But, obviously we need to beat those guys (Kalitta), or somebody does. We can run as good as they can, it's not an issue of that, especially at this point. Melanie is driving well and the car is running good, so we can definitely out-run them."
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