Championship Drag Racing

Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals
Seattle, WA
(July 21-23)

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

'There's a lot of racing left,' says Troxel

Seattle, prerace: Melanie Troxel is not discouraged by the fact that she has slipped to second place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point rankings after holding the lead since the beginning of the season. "There's a lot of racing left," she says as the series heads to Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., this weekend for the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, the second event of the three-race Western Swing, and the 14th of the 23-event season.

Troxel relinquished her lead at last weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver and is now 22 points behind Doug Kalitta, who has come on strong in the last several races. The heat of the summer months has also taken its toll on the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel operation, but the team that just celebrated its one-year anniversary is working hard to get back up front.

Troxel actually sees a plus to her position: "I think it might take a little extra pressure off of us," she says. "In the past several races we watched our points lead diminish, but there is still a lot of racing left. I think that this maybe gets a little of the spotlight off us and lets us just focus on racing and doing what we need to do."

As for the recent hot and often humid conditions at some of the events, "It's really hard to say if that has had any effect on our performance," Troxel says. "I don't think there's been any one obvious thing that you can point to and say over the past four races that this is where we have had a problem. Obviously, last weekend we never had the handle on the altitude setup up in Denver. I think just getting off of the mountain is going to help us.

"Richard (Hogan, crew chief) feels very confident that he has a good tune-up that he's working on for the heat. I don't know if we've mastered it yet, but we think it has a lot of potential."

Troxel is very familiar with Pacific Raceways, where the weather is predicted to be in the 90s this weekend. "I had my first national-event win in Seattle in an Alcohol Dragster in 1999," she recalls. "I've run a lot at this race track and have a lot of fond memories of it. I always look forward to racing here."


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