Troxel gaining momentum, qualifies No. 12
Seattle, Saturday: Melanie Troxel and the Skull Gear/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster are gaining momentum each day since the team debuted at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver last week. The Denver native qualified 12th today for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways, completing only three of four scheduled qualifying runs.
The newest addition to Don Schumacher Racing's nine-car operation continues to build confidence while she reacquaints herself to driving a Top Fuel dragster after a two-year hiatus.
Troxel's best qualifying effort came Saturday in the final round of qualifying, where she posted an ET of 4.626 seconds at 319.29 mph (good for No. 5 at that time). Her first effort on Friday produced a 4.662/307.44, while the second round was called for darkness with four cars left to qualify. Troxel and her teammate Tony Schumacher voluntarily opted not to run.
In the third qualifying session she lost traction and recorded a 12.557/74.41.
She will face Doug Kalitta, second in Top Fuel points, in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
"We didn't know what to expect (at our first race) in Denver, and would have liked to have gone a few rounds there, but it probably wasn't very realistic," she said. "Now that I have one race under my belt and out of the way, I would say the goal is to go out and go at least one round, if not two or three on Sunday. That's definitely the plan.
"We're still working on our program. I just need to relax and make sure things are done right.
"We were really looking forward to going out there for the night session on Friday and laying down a big number, but, unfortunately, the session got pushed back later and later. We decided as a team to pull both cars - the Skull Gear/Torco Fuels dragster and the U.S. Army car - out of the lanes because we didn't feel it was safe (in the darkness).
"In the heat of the day the track temperature was well over 115 degrees," she said following the last session, "so I thought a low 4.6 was good, especially considering we hadn't made the two previous runs to the finish line. I'm very happy with that kind of number going into Sunday.
"On Sunday we'll be racing in the heat, so that's what really matters."
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