Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Troxel races to quarterfinals, ties Schumacher for second in points
Brainerd, Sunday: Melanie Troxel breezed her way into the quarterfinals of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway today and demonstrated that the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster was at the top of its class when she defeated J.R. Todd in the opening round with the second-best elapsed time of the session of 4.562 seconds at 327.66 mph.
She again set the second-best ET one round later when she matched up against Rod Fuller, clocking a 4.565/327.59 pass to Fuller's slower, but winning 4.584/321.42. Fuller's reaction time of .082 of a second (.000 is perfect) gave him the holeshot win over Troxel, who launched with a .107 reaction time.
Points leader Doug Kalitta was defeated by Troxel's teammate Tony Schumacher in the second round, so Troxel, second in points coming into this event, actually gained a point after also out-qualifying him. She is now 81 points behind Kalitta. Schumacher was on a tear today en route to the final round, then lost to Brandon Bernstein. He is now tied with Troxel in second, both with 1077 points.
"We had a real close race with Hot Rod (Fuller), and, unfortunately, when you have those close races, they are going to be decided more times than not by reaction time," said the
"We would much rather go up and lose a close race, than make a mistake. We definitely had a very good and consistent race car here this (qualified No. 5) weekend, so that feels good going into
"We won't lose any ground in trying to catch Kalitta, which is good, but now we're tied with Tony Schumacher. It's going to be a great rest of the season, for sure," she said. "We're still in a great position to have a shot at that championship, and we have a very consistent car. We just have to stay where we are and try to take advantage of opportunities when they come along."
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