Troxel qualifies provisional No. 12
Pomona, Friday: ProCare Rx driver Mike Ashley fared much better in the second day of qualifying at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, while his Gotham City Racing teammate, Melanie Troxel, got another lap under her belt in her matching ProCare Rx Dodge Charger R/T.
Despite crossing the centerline and having her run disqualified, Troxel ended the day in the provisional No. 12 spot based on the strength of yesterday's performance. Ashley landed below the qualifying line with his 4.979/317.57-pass and will use tomorrow to qualify for Sunday's eliminations.
"The car got out of the grove at about 1000 feet and went straight for the centerline, so I had to lift and pull it back into my lane," Troxel explained.
"Coming from a Dragster to Funny Car, everything handles and sounds different, but, since I've been doing this so long, I think I've got a really good feel for what's going on in the car. Today, it put a hole out and pulled, and it was too far over for me to keep it straight.
"Every time I learn a little more, and I'm confident we'll keep improving. Brian [Corradi] and Mark [Oswald, crew chiefs] are on top of everything, and I know we'll be ready to go come Sunday," she said.
Ashley said, "I told the guys that this weekend is really testing for us, since this is the first time both of these cars have gone down the track at all. I think my 4.97 is a great baseline, especially since we had trouble getting the car started yesterday.
"It felt great to go down the track. My new partner, Roger Burgess, is coming into town this evening, and I'm glad we can show him some positive results for the short amount of time we've been putting things together," he said.
"It's interesting because this new qualifying format definitely affects us now, and I think it gives us a great shot tomorrow because I know this car will run well," Ashley said.
The 2008 qualifying procedure has been altered, and now only the top 12 times will be officially recorded after Friday's qualifying. That leaves four spots unclaimed, for which Ashley will be one of ten cars truing to make the field. For those, like Ashley, who didn't make the top 12, their qualifying numbers are erased, and Saturday's numbers will determine the remaining four spots to fill the 16-car field.
"Here's the deal," Ashley said. "Tomorrow, we go out and run as quick as we can, and if we're one of the top 16 quickest, we race on Sunday. The details of the new system really confuse everyone, but that's the easy way to explain it.
"I think it gives a really even field, and it definitely will make Saturday qualifying more exciting. I'm not concerned about it at all, because I really think we have the very best team out here," he said.
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