Melanie is running the entire NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in 2011. She will also run the complete NHRA GSA Pro Mod Series.


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Born - Aug. 31, 1972 in Littleton, CO
Residence – Denver
Height – 5’8”
Weight – 130 lbs
Marital Status – Married to Tommy Johnson Jr, Funny Car Driver
Hobbies: Snowboarding and golf
Married to Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr.
Hobbies: Snowboarding and golf
First competed directly against her husband In 2008; Earned two national event victories in Top Alcohol Dragster competition (Seattle and Topeka); While in a Top Fuel dragster, her career bests were 4.458 seconds (Dallas 2005) and 332.51 mph (Pomona 1 2007); Notable: Captured two NHRA national event victories in Top Alcohol Dragster in 1999 (Seattle and Topeka); Owns a specialty automotive tool shop that supplies tools to race teams and machine shops

  • Two national event wins in Alcohol Dragster in 1999 (Seattle and Topeka)
  • Has six runner-up finishes in Top Fuel: in 2000 (Dallas 2), 2005 (Pomona 2), Phoenix 2006, Gainesville 2006 and Atlanta 2006
  • She has qualified No. 1 once so far, at Bristol Dragway in 2006. She also has two No. 2s (Dallas '05 and Pomona 2 '05)
  • Drove limited schedule for Don Schumacher Racing in 2000, her first year in Top Fuel
  • Rejoined DSR in the 13th event of 2005 (Denver)
  • Runner-up in Alcohol Dragster points in 1999
  • Ran limited Top Fuel schedule in 2002 and 2003
  • Career quickest elapsed time in Top Fuel is 4.458 seconds, set in 2005 in Dallas
  • Career fastest speed is 331.04 mph, set 5/7/06 at Atlanta Dragway
  • In 2005, in 11 races, Troxel had eight round wins
  • Troxel is the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history, after clocking the 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas '05.

Quick Facts

  • Top Fuel points leader by 132 points after Pomona and Las Vegas wins and runner-up finishes in Phoenix, Gainesville, Fla., Houston and Atlanta
  • First NHRA Top Fuel driver to reach the final round in the first five events of a season
  • Troxel has reached six consecutive final rounds (two wins) dating back to final event of 2005. The string was broken at Bristol Dragway
  • At Atlanta, after Bristol, Troxel made it to her sixth final round in seven events in 2006
  • With Tony Schumacher's five straight final-round appearances to end 2005,
  • Don Schumacher Racing has been in 12 consecutive final rounds this season
  • Was just named the first quarter winner of the ESPY Driver of the Year voting
  • Won her first national Top Fuel event in Pomona, Calif., Feb. 12, 2006
  • 2006 is her first full season of Top Fuel competition
  • Two national event wins in Alcohol Dragster in 1999 (Seattle and Topeka)
  • Has six runner-up finishes in Top Fuel: in 2000 (Dallas 2), 2005 (Pomona 2), Phoenix 2006, Gainesville 2006 and Atlanta 2006
  • She has qualified No. 1 once so far, at Bristol Dragway in 2006. She also has two No. 2s (Dallas '05 and Pomona 2 '05)
  • Drove limited schedule for Don Schumacher Racing in 2000, her first year in Top Fuel
  • Rejoined DSR in the 13th event of 2005 (Denver)
  • Runner-up in Alcohol Dragster points in 1999
  • Ran limited Top Fuel schedule in 2002 and 2003
  • Career quickest elapsed time in Top Fuel is 4.458 seconds, set in 2005 in Dallas
  • Career fastest speed is 331.04 mph, set 5/7/06 at Atlanta Dragway
  • In 2005, in 11 races, Troxel had eight round wins
  • Troxel is the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history, after clocking the 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas '05.


In 2010, Melanie is competing in select races in the NHRA Full Throttle Series with a Nitro Funny Car and all ten races of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. She will also compete in three of the FIA Europe Pro Mod Races, driving a 1968 Camaro Pro Mod

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Melanie qualified 4th in the R2B2 Racing Promod Corvette at the IHRA race in Martin, MI. She lost in the semi-final round to event winner and defending series champion Kenny Lang.

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Melanie Troxel beat Mike Neff in Funny Car at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tennessee Dragway. She is the first woman to have wins in Funny Car and Top Fuel.

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Mealnie missed the cut of the Top 8 in Top Fuel. She finished the season in 10th with 766 points. She finished the 2006 season in 4th with 1,471 points.

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NHRA Top Fuel drivber Melanie Troxel is testing a Funny Car for team owner Mike Ashley, with an eye on a possible move for next season. If she makes the switch, she'll be competing against husband Tommy Johnson Jr. "I think it would be great for the sport media-wise," Ashley says. "But I don't want any blame for causing any marital issues."

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Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster, was defeated in the first round of competition at the 23rd annual Checker Schuck’s Kragen Nationals at Firebird Raceway by his teammate, Melanie Troxel. Troxel powered her way to the finish line matching her qualifying performance in recording a time of 4.492 seconds, 330.07 mph. The next NHRA national event will be 38th annual ACDelco Nationals at the Gainesville Raceway, the first east coast drag race of the 2007 season, running on March 16–18.

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Troxel appears in 18 month Women in the Winner's Circle 2007 calendar along with 17 other women throughout the motorsports field.

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Melanie Wins Sportswoman of the Year Award
In yet another sign of the NHRA POWERade Series’ growth, and its recognition in the mainstream, Melanie Troxel has been selected by the Women’s Sports Foundation as its Sportswoman of the Year – beating out an impressive list of finalists that included Annika Sorenstam and Amelie Mauresmo. Melanie was recognized by the WSF at its gala Awards Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

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En route to the final, Troxel first sent packing a tire-smoking Larry Dixon with a stout 4.576-second pass at 320.81 mph, then dismissed Rod Fuller with a 4.536/325.53 in the quarterfinal. Her semifinal disposition of points leader Doug Kalitta was the highlight round of the day, as she drove around him to win with a 4.518/328.70 to his losing 4.563/328.70.

She was matched against her Torco teammate and rookie J.R. Todd in the final round in their third meeting of the season. They were tied 1-1 coming into the final. It was a close race to the finish, but it was Todd first at the stripe by .0599 of a second, with a 4.494-second pass at 324.12 mph to Troxel's losing 4.538/324.28.

With third-in-points Brandon Bernstein and second-in-points Tony Schumacher losing in the second round, Troxel made some ground on the championship contenders in front of her in the standings. She is now 150 points out of the lead, with three races remaining in her first full season of Top Fuel competition, 98 short of second, and 88 behind third. Next up is the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., postponed to Oct. 13-15.

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 Melanie Troxel entered the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex with confidence about her chances of going rounds as cooler, more favorable conditions moved into the Dallas area. A loss, however, in the opening stanza to David Baca proved a disappointment. No. 12 qualifier Troxel had the advantage at the starting line with a .097 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Baca's .117, but her 4.736-second pass at 288.46 mph was not enough to hold off Baca's winning 4.603/323.12. Troxel now heads to Reading, Pa. for the rescheduled Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, Sept. 29-Oct. .

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Melanie Troxel fell victim to the elements and a strong opponent today in the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals, losing to Hillary Will. With high humidity and temperatures hovering around the 100-degree mark, Troxel smoked the tires at half-track and, despite an attempt to pedal the car to regain traction, Troxel slowed to a 5.543-second elapsed time at 180.57 mph, while Will crossed the stripe comfortably with a 4.823/295.72. Margin of victory: .7577 of a second. ROund 17 of 23. Melanie ranks 3rd in overall points, and Hillary ranks 9th.

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Melanie Troxel endured another difficult stop en route to her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship today at the Fram-Autolite Nationals. After leading the point standings for the first 12 events of the season, the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster has dropped to 82 points behind leader Doug Kalitta (semifinalist today) following her third consecutive first-round loss in eliminations. She will also be looking over her shoulder in the upcoming races, as runner-up today Tony Schumacher is now just 44 points behind her in third.

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Melanie Troxel had a first-round loss to Denver winner J.R. Todd which put a damper on her weekend after a strong showing to qualify No. 4. She had lane choice on the slick, hot track in that round and posted a solid reaction time of .092 of a second (.000 is perfect), but her quicker 4.675-second pass at 313.44 mph was not enough to stage off Todd's .058 reaction time and slower but holeshot-winning 4.682/311.05 pass. Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 28-30.

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Colorado native Melanie Troxel did not have the homecoming she wished for today after being knocked out of the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at Bandimere Speedway, her hometown track. With the loss, she also yielded the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points lead, which she had held through the first 12 events of the season. Troxel travels to Seattle, Wash., next for the Schuck's NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways, July 21-23.

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Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel entered today's O'Reilly Midwest NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway with a 48-point lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series standings and, despite a tough quarterfinal loss to No. 2 in points Doug Kalitta, she holds onto the lead by 24 points. Troxel had lane choice against Kalitta in the second round after defeating Hillary Will in the opening stanza, and ran a quicker 4.687-second elapsed time at 313.22 mph to Kalitta's 4.708/323.27, but his outstanding reaction time (.038 of a second, .000 is perfect) made all the difference in his holeshot win. Next up is the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway (Denver), July 14-16.







Pomona, CA




Chandler, AZ




Gainesville, FL




Houston, TX




Las Vegas, NV




Commerce, GA




Madison, IL




Topeka, KS




Joliet, IL




Englishtown, NJ




Norwalk, OH




Bristol, TN




Denver, CO



Versatile Melanie Troxel continues to make history

At some point in the very near future, Melanie Troxel will have to be mentioned in the same breath as Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey.

Sunday in Charlotte, Troxel drove her In-N-Out Burger ‘67 Camaro to the winner’s circle at zMax Dragway, becoming the first female drag racer in any major sanction to win a Pro Mod race. Added to her previous victories in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Dragster, Troxel has now won Wallys in four different NHRA categories, another record for females.

“I embrace the fact that winning in four different NHRA classes is special,” Troxel said. “In 60 years, not many people have done that and you look at the ones that have and you’re in great company.

“Being the only female to have done it … that just doesn’t do it for me. Anyone that knows me will tell you right away my feelings on that stuff. I realize it’s something people look at, especially the media, and that’s fine. I just don’t feel special for being the only woman to have done it. I feel special and very fortunate to have done it as a racer, period, not as a woman.”

Sound familiar? Muldowney fought for equal footing alongside the boys throughout her illustrious career and earned respect the old fashioned way — on the racetrack — with three NHRA Top Fuel championships and 18 national event wins in a time when there were only half a dozen races a year.

Sampey also endured some taunting during her time in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but she shrugged off the poor sportsmanship shown by some of her rivals and captured three championships and a record 41 national event titles.

Neither woman touted themselves as great female racers, rather simply as racers.

“I love that girls come around and identify with me at the races,” Troxel said, echoing comments made by Muldowney and Sampey in the past. “Mostly because I want them to realize that women can do anything. We can take on non-traditional jobs and excel. I love that role.

“When I was a kid I remember noticing Shirley. My parents always told me I could do anything I set my mind to and seeing her drag race and do it successfully really reinforced what my mom and dad were always telling me. She impacted my way of thinking. If I can do that now for some girls out there then that’s great.”

Troxel already etched her name in the record books when she became the first woman to win in drag racing’s two premier categories — Top Fuel and Funny Car — in the spring of 2008. Only 14 racers in history have accomplished that feat.

At that point she distinguished herself as the only woman with wins in three different classes. Now she’s upped that number to four.

“The coolest thing about the Pro Mod win is that I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be driving Pro Mod again next year so if it didn’t happen in Charlotte or Vegas, it might not have happened at all,” Troxel said. “The plan right now is to run Funny Car full time in 2011 and the thinking is I’d like to give that 100 percent of my focus. (Running Pro Mod in 2011) is not completely out of the question, but it’s more likely that I won’t.”

In the three largest drag racing sanctions — NHRA, IHRA, and ADRL — no female has every won a national event in Pro Mod until Sunday. Shelly Payne did capture the title of the NHRA Dallas race in 2008, but at the time Pro Mod was running as an exhibition class.

“I’ve absolutely enjoyed running Pro Mod and I’m really glad to earn a win for my team,” said Troxel, who races for multi-car team owner/driver Roger Burgess. “I wasn’t so sure in the beginning because these cars are notorious for being out of control and they certainly can be at times.

“On an average weekend racing Pro Mod you find yourself out on that edge where you’re really close to wrecking at least one time. In most other cars you’ll have that feeling maybe once or twice a year. It’s a crazy class.”

Troxel has no female-oriented goals ahead of her, but is pleased at the prospect of running full-time alongside fellow female racer Ashley Force Hood in 2011.

“There’s only two of us racing Funny Car so we’re bound to hear the female thing a lot,” Troxel said. “That’s alright; as long as I’m racing a car I’m happy, or should I say I’m a happy girl?”

Diversity in drag racing

Take a look at the National Hot Rod Association standings, and see what's there.

Antron Brown is first in the Pro Stock Motorcycles, and teammate Angelle Sampey is third. Melanie Troxel is fourth in Top Fuel standings. J.R. Todd is 10th in Top Fuel but has three victories, including last Sunday at Reading, Pa.

Tony Pedregon (fourth) and Cruz Pedregon (10th) compete in Funny Cars, Hillary Will is ninth in Top Fuel, and Karen Stoffer is fifth in Pro Stock Motorcycles after a victory at Reading.

That's what those drivers want you to see when some of them come to Virginia Motorsports Park tomorrow. Not their sex or their skin color.

"Right now, it's a big deal because I'm an African-American," Todd said. "If I weren't, I don't think they'd be making as big a deal as they are.

"I've been on CNN and SportsCenter and USA Today because I'm African-American. Eventually, it's going to slow down, and it will just be, 'Hey, J.R. won another race.' That will come with time when you get more minorities involved."

The NHRA will bring its show to Dinwiddie this weekend for the Torco Racing Fuel Nationals. What fans will see is while other racing series may give lip service to diversity, it's a base principle at the top level of drag racing.

The participants know it's a story. They're constantly going to cities they see only once a year, and there will be new interviews and more talk about them. But they don't want it to end there.

"I think that's an important next step in the progression of women in motorsports," Troxel said. "It's natural for it to be noteworthy, but it makes it kind of a novelty, like 'Oh, look, there's a woman.' But when that's all there is, people get tired of it."

Troxel and Sampey participate in the Hostess Race Divas program, appearing on calendars and snack packaging along with the Indy Racing League's Danica Patrick.

Troxel said she agreed to the program because she knew it would bring attention to herself, her team and her sponsor.

It wasn't as easy for Sampey.

"I had to have people tell me that I needed to use that to my advantage. That's why I hate it more than anybody else," Sampey said. "People are having trouble finding sponsorships, and it's not fair for me to say, 'Sponsor me because I'm a girl.'"

"In my mind and in my heart, I'm just a racer. When the helmet goes on, you can't see the faces. We want you to give us attention because we're winners."

They've definitely earned that right. While Sampey and Brown won't be competing at the Torco event -- it's a weekend off for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class -- they've combined for five wins, including the first four events of the year.

Brown, an African-American, and Sampey, a woman, are shining examples of how diversity isn't a dirty word for the NHRA.

They've both worked their way to the top ranks of the motorcycle class, and Brown said that gives the NHRA an advantage over NASCAR or most other forms of racing.

In comparison, NASCAR's top three series offer only two women (Erin Crocker and Kelly Sutton), one Hispanic (Aric Almirola) and one black man (Bill Lester), none in the top 10 in points. The NHRA also offers a diverse group of fans.

"With the NHRA, there's a lot more entry-level racing for minorities," Brown said. "NASCAR, they have [the Automobile Racing Club of America] and all that other stuff, but you still have to be rich. NHRA, you can go to the drag strip and race anything from your mom's station wagon to dirt bikes. You just have to come out there and drag race with it. That's the advantage they have."

For Todd, who is just 24, it's a time of new role models and new chances to shine.

"There's still a lack of women and minorities out here, but we need to see more of them," Todd said. "By me picking up the win this year, the first African-American to win in a nitro category, that opens up the door for more minorities. It shows it can be done."
Source: Jill Irwin,

Melanie Troxel Races to Quarterfinals in Indy - 9/4/06

Melanie Troxel entered final eliminations in today's U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis with a great shot at winning her first U.S. Nationals. She qualified the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster No. 5, demonstrating that she had a solidly fast and consistent race car all weekend at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' premier event.

The local Avon, Ind., resident breezed past Alan Bradshaw in the first round with a 4.527-second pass at 326.71 mph, then matched up against Rod Fuller in the quarterfinals. She led Fuller at the 1000-ft. mark on the quarter-mile, but a slight wiggle while losing traction resulted in a 4.613/306.46 pass at the stripe. It was not enough to overcome Fuller's winning 4.578/324.20.

"We were ahead of Rod, then out somewhere around 1000 feet it smoked the tires and got on the rev-limiter and started eating up the motor," said Troxel. "The car was running really well. We knew the second round would be in the middle of the day, and probably on the worst track conditions we would see.

"We were concerned early in the run about not overpowering the race track, and we made it through that very well. It caught us completely off guard. We didn't expect to have a problem like that. So, we'll look at the computer to figure out why that happened. It's not where we expected to have a problem on the trace track.

"You can lose a race and never see the other driver. But when you go all the way down and don't see him, then you get a good feeling thinking you have it. It wasn't until past 1000 feet that he pulled around a little bit. It's very frustrating because we had a good race car."

Fourth in Top Fuel rankings, Troxel had a chance to gain needed ground on leader Doug Kalitta after he was knocked out in the opening round. "This was a big opportunity for everyone behind Doug. We did make up a little ground, but we missed an opportunity to step up and make up some major ground in the points."

Troxel is now 140 points behind No. 1 Kalitta.

"We're disappointed, but we still have five races to go," she added.

Next up is the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa., Sept. 15-17.

Troxel Races to Quarterfinals in Brainerd, Ties Tony Schumacher for Second in Points

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 Colorado native, who had led the point standings through the first 12 events of the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. "I felt like I left well, but it's one of those things that didn't show up in the reaction times.

"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 Memphis.

"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."

Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn., Aug. 18-20.

Melanie Trozel Zooms to No. 5 in Brainerd Qualifying - 8/12/06

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship contender (currently No. 2 in points) Melanie Troxel put herself in a solid qualifying position for this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway by collecting the No. 5 spot in the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster.

Troxel was at the top of the charts in each of the first three qualifying sessions, holding either No. 2 or No. 3 positions until the final round. She produced three strong, consistent passes: first a 4.653-second pass at 324.36 mph, followed by a 4.564/325.22 and a 4.585/322.58. She lost traction only in the final qualifying run, posting a 7.080/104.03.

"It's definitely nice to come out and make a lot of good passes down the track," said the 33-year-old fan favorite. "In that last session we found out where the edge is," she said of spinning the tires at the 330-ft. mark. "So, that's always good to know.

"We made it down the track three out of four runs, and we have a solid setup for this track. The weather conditions should be similar tomorrow, so I feel like we have a good plan."

She faces fellow Torco Race Fuels-sponsored J.R. Todd in the first round of eliminations, as Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels owner Evan Knoll is in attendance this weekend. "It's too bad we have to see J.R. in the first round. It obviously means we can't meet up in the finals, which I'm sure Evan would like to see," said Troxel.

"They've been a tough team for the last several races, but we feel really good about how we are running right now, and we're looking forward to Sunday."

"We're in a Great Position"

Don't expect Melanie Troxel to be kicking herself. The fact that she is second in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings after leading them through the first 12 races is not discouraging to the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster. The popular 33-year-old racer in her first full season of Top Fuel competition says she's very much OK as the series comes to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway this weekend.

"We're still in a great position," says Troxel, who trails Doug Kalitta by 82 markers, while teammate Tony Schumacher is 54 behind. "We're No. 2 in points. We haven't done very well in the last several races (three first-round losses in the Western Swing - Denver, Seattle, Sonoma, Calif.), but we've been very fortunate that Kalitta has not run away with the points. Certainly, Tony is closing in on us, but to be three-quarters of the way through the season and be second in points is still a great position to be in.

"I think if we're able to step up our program, which I know we're fully capable of doing, we'll be right back in it. We had a bad couple of races, but I think we're ready to rebound and change that.

"Honestly, the Western Swing was not very kind to us. We certainly did not live up to our own expectations.

"I think it's reasonable for any team to hit a slump in their season and I'm just hoping that this weekend off (since the last race of the Western Swing) has given us all some time to recharge our batteries, regroup, and will help us to come back out and hit hard.

"Potentially, Brainerd could be very tricky for the crew chiefs to try and tune to. This will certainly not be an easy event for us, but we're looking forward to getting back out there and changing the direction of our momentum."

Melanie Troxel Earns the USAC Kara Hendrick Spirit Award - Don Schumacher Racing Receives 2006 Opportunity Award - 8/3/06

Melanie Troxel, driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, was awarded The USAC Kara Hendrick Spirit Award today at the fourth annual Women in the Winner's Circle 2006 luncheon, benefiting the Lyn St. James Foundation.

At the function held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 this weekend, Lyn St. James presented Troxel with the fourth annual award which honors a female driver whose spirit, determination and driving ability are reminiscent of the excellence demonstrated by Kara Hendrick during her brief racing career.

Hendrick was a rising star of the USAC Western States Midget Series and a fierce competitor with a bright future. On Oct. 5, 1991, at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon, Calif., 22-year-old Hendrick broke the track record, qualified first and was leading the race until her midget impacted the wall. She did not survive her injuries.

Troxel was taken by surprise when her name was called. "This was totally unexpected," she said, "and I am extremely honored to receive this very special award. I've been very fortunate with the opportunities I have been given and I also thank Lyn for everything that she has done.

"I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to race for Don Schumacher Racing and I'm grateful to everyone involved with the team. It takes a talented group of people to put a car out there that can win races and have success.

"When I first started coming to Lyn's events I was in between rides and she has been a great source of inspiration to me over the years, encouraging me to stick with it and stay out there in front of the teams and sponsors and the people who would make it possible for me to get back out there."

In her first full season of Top Fuel competition, Troxel, 33, led the Top Fuel points through the first 12 races of the 23-event 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, was the first NHRA driver to have reached the final round in the first five events of a season, and has won two events so far. She is currently second in points and in the middle of a serious chase for her first Top Fuel championship.

Troxel, who lives in Avon, Ind., with husband and Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr., is the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history, after clocking a 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas in 2005.

She has since upped that speed to 331.04 mph.

Her other achievements include ESPYS nominations for Driver of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, and was the first quarter winner of the 2006 Driver of the Year award.

Don Schumacher Racing was also presented the 2006 Opportunity Award honoring teams that go above and beyond in helping with the development of female drivers.

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing: Petty's Words Surprise Lady Drag Racers - Or Petty Petty.

Richard Petty chose a poor weekend to restate his opinion that women don't belong in motorsports.

"I just don't think it's a sport for women. And so far, it's proved out. It's really not," the NASCAR legend said.

He evidently doesn't keep up with the National Hot Rod Ass'n or what happened at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.

Top Fuel's Melanie Troxel and Pro Stock's Erica Enders led their respective fields after qualifying. In joining Funny Car's Robert Hight, they marked the first time in NHRA history that two women have earned No. 1 qualifying positions at the same event. Enders became the first female in NHRA history to lead the Pro Stock lineup.

"These are the kind of things we should expect to happen," Troxel, Top Fuel point leader in the Skull Shine/Torco Dragster, said. "So many women have come before us that it's just a non-event to me. I'm not surprised one bit that women are doing well. What's good to see is that good drivers are getting opportunities with good teams, and some of those drivers just happen to be female."

Petty also said of female race-car drivers, "It's good for them to come in. It gives us a lot of publicity. It gives them publicity. But as far as being a real true racer, making a living out of it, it's kind of tough."

In the NHRA, where Shirley Muldowney beat the boys as a three-time Top Fuel champion and Angelle Sampey has earned three Pro Stock Motorcycle titles, gender is not a hot topic, but Petty's comments did draw reaction.

Said Enders after earning her distinction, "I was a Petty fan -- until yesterday. But there are some people that are stuck in the old day and that are chauvinistic, and I think it just goes to show, I don't know, their ignorance. We're out here, trying just as hard. And you know when given the opportunity, like Melanie and myself, Hillary Will, Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer, and Danica [IRL's Patrick], I think when given the opportunity we can definitely prove ourselves. I think gender plays absolutely no role in what we do."

Troxel, too, said she thought Petty's opinion was outdated.

"Well, you know, he's certainly entitled to his opinion, and with all due respect to him, I think he grew up in a different time and a different place," the 33 year old said. "And I don't really think that his opinions are necessarily relevant in this day and age."

Troxel Slips in Sonoma, is Eliminated in First Round

Melanie Troxel endured another difficult stop en route to her first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship today at the Fram-Autolite Nationals. After leading the point standings for the first 12 events of the season, the driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster has dropped to 82 points behind leader Doug Kalitta (semifinalist today) following her third consecutive first-round loss in eliminations.

She will also be looking over her shoulder in the upcoming races, as runner-up today Tony Schumacher is now just 44 points behind her in third.

No. 10 qualifier Troxel faced rookie Hillary Will in the opening stanza, a driver against whom she had a 2-0 round-winning season record. On a hot sticky track, Troxel struck the tires early, crossing the finish line in 6.637 seconds at 127.26 mph. Will had traction issues also, but reached the stripe first, in 4.976 seconds at 236.13 mph.

"I thought we had a pretty good shot out there this morning," said Troxel. "A lot of people struggled to get down the track, and we were one of them. We got through what is usually the tough spot early in the run, but just before half-track the Skull Shine car started to smoke the tires.

"We weren't able to recover and get around Hillary. They smoked the tires too, but it was further down track and they were able to hang on.

"We finished the Western Swing (Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.) with another first-round loss, which is disappointing, but we have a few weeks now to regroup and get ready for Brainerd.

"There is still a lot of season left, and we're not going to lose focus on trying to win the championship. Richard (Hogan, crew chief) is working on a few things with the clutch disks that could definitely work in our favor."

Said Richard Hogan: "We'll go to Brainerd and get started again. We have a whole new set of clutch disks that I think will be a big help for the rest of the season. We switched over to them this weekend, so we have the transition out of the way. We'll be OK."

Troxel Collects No. 10 in Sonoma Qualifing - 7/29/06

Melanie Troxel drove the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster into the No. 10 position during qualifying for the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

Troxel clocked a 4.608-second pass at 318.54 mph in Saturday's third session to earn that spot. Her other passes produced a strong 4.640-second lap at 322.65 mph in the opening session (good for No. 2 at the time), a 10.638/72.97, in which she shut off early and coasted to the finish, and a final tire-smoking pass of 9.262/89.64.

"We laid down a good number with the first pass out," she said, "and we were looking forward to going out in the night session and staying in the top three or four spots. Unfortunately, we missed the setup just a little bit and smoked the tires. That moved us all the way back to No. 9.

"We had an opportunity this morning, with the cool air and the marine layer of clouds, to improve and move up. And, we did. We moved up to No. 8.

"The last session wasn't quite what we were looking for, as far as moving up in the field. But, Richard (Hogan, crew chief) feels like he learned something from it. It's better to have learned something today, than tomorrow.

"We were trying a few different things on that last run, and some worked and some didn't. We know what we don't want to do tomorrow. But, we've got some good experience in conditions that will be similar to Sunday's.

"It would be great to get a first-round win, and get that off our back," she said, referring to her first-round losses in the last two races. "I know the Western Swing has been tough for us, so it would be nice to get some rounds and use some of our experience from previous races."

Troxel faces Hillary Will in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

Troxel Staged for Sonoma Success - July 27, 2006

Melanie Troxel is enjoying the challenge and the competition the Top Fuel class of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series provides her and the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels team as she fights for her first Top Fuel championship this season.

After leading the points through the first 12 races, she finds herself 40 markers behind Doug Kalitta heading into the 15th of 23 events this weekend at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway. Brandon Bernstein and her DSR teammate Tony Schumacher are also breathing down her neck (103 and 110 points behind, respectively). Undaunted, Troxel and the year-old team continue to work towards a turnaround following four consecutive early-round losses as they search for that solid summer tune-up.

In this three-race Western Swing, mile-high Denver and Seattle produced temperatures in the 90s, resulting in many teams struggling for performance. The weather for this weekend's Sonoma, Calif., event might also call for heat. "It was looking as though it was going to be very hot here this weekend," says Troxel, a Colorado native. "That is a concern for us. We still don't have a solid, hot weather tune-up. We really don't have any choice but to keep working at it. We're just going to keep plugging away until we get a tune-up that works in the heat because even if it turns out to be a little cooler here this weekend, we know we'll have plenty of other events where it will be hot yet this year.

"I said it before, and I hope that it's true, that we are making some progress. We went down the track three out of the four runs in qualifying in Seattle and qualified No. 4. I think we're moving in the right direction; we just haven't gotten the whole package together just yet."

As for her competition, including Kalitta, who easily could have earned a greater points lead, except for his two semifinal finishes and a second-round loss in the last three races. "It has seemed that Doug hasn't been as dominant as he was for three or four races," adds Troxel. "That certainly has helped us out. Tony Schumacher (Seattle winner) and the U.S. Army team are making a hard charge right now. You don't know at this point of the year who's going to be there at the end of the season to have a shot at that championship.

"We're just going to do the best we can to work on our program."

Troxel, who qualified No. 10 here last year in her second race for Don Schumacher Racing and lost the first round to Scott Kalitta, enjoys her visit to the wine country. "It's beautiful up here," she says. "We always enjoy coming up and doing some wine tasting." And, as for the racing, "It does sound like the temperatures are supposed to be a little cooler than we thought they were going to be. That certainly will help us."

Troxel has Tough Day in Seattle with Early Exit - 7/23/06

Melanie Troxel, driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster, entered today's Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways with thoughts of reclaiming her lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings, which she relinquished last weekend in Denver. But a first-round loss to Denver winner J.R. Todd put a damper on her weekend after a strong showing to qualify No. 4.

Troxel had lane choice on the slick, hot track in that round and posted a solid reaction time of .092 of a second (.000 is perfect), but her quicker 4.675-second pass at 313.44 mph was not enough to stage off Todd's .058 reaction time and slower but holeshot-winning 4.682/311.05 pass.

With points leader Doug Kalitta exiting in the second round, Troxel now trails him by 40 points in the rankings.

"I felt like we had a pretty good handle on this track, so to come out and lose is frustrating," said the 33-year-old Colorado native. "As a driver, a holeshot loss hurts a little extra.

"That was a good light for me. It wasn't a spectacular light for me, but the chances of us beating his .058 light with the way we set our car up was pretty slim." The margin of victory was .0275 of a second.

"We need to seriously turn this deal around," she added. "There's not any one thing that you can point to and say that has changed. We just don't seem to be having any luck, and I hate to say that, because it's certainly not all luck out here. You just have to get a little momentum, or mojo, or whatever, and we don't have that right now. We're hoping to find something to get things turned around out here.

"It's nice that we had a better handle on this race track than we did in Denver, and hopefully we can carry some of that knowledge through the rest of the summer. Richard (Hogan, crew chief) seems to have found a better setup for these hot tracks, so that is good for us. We'll be OK. Maybe we just need a stupid little superstition or something to give us a spark.

"We'll just gather ourselves and head to Sonoma (Calif.). There's not much else we can do at this point."

Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 28-30.

"There's a lot of racing left," says Troxel - 7/19/06

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."

Troxel Oucted in Denver First Round, Relinguishes Points Lead - 7/16/06

Colorado native Melanie Troxel did not have the homecoming she wished for today after being knocked out of the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in the first round of Top Fuel eliminations at Bandimere Speedway, her hometown track. With the loss, she also yielded the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points lead, which she had held through the first 12 events of the season.

With Doug Kalitta's loss to Troxel's teammate Tony Schumacher in the semifinal, Troxel is now in second, 22 points behind Kalitta.

She entered eliminations in the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster as the No. 12 qualifier and faced off against David Grubnic in the first round. She nailed a solid .087 (of a second) reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Grubnic's .100 and was heading for a victory until half-track, when the engine started popping and banging. Grubnic grabbed the win with a 4.847/304.19, while Troxel slowed to a 5.247/220.44. Margin of victory: .3871 of a second.

"The Skull Shine car was on a good run, and then it dropped three cylinders (two left, one right), which is kind of along the lines of what we've been doing here all weekend," said Troxel. "It's only one time a year we run this kind of altitude (5,860 feet above sea level), then on top of it, we have to face 100-degree-plus temperatures," she added about the unusually hot conditions the teams faced this weekend in Denver.

The team battled tough conditions all weekend. "We started out the weekend and made a couple passes before we decided what we were doing wasn't working, and we needed to make some pretty big changes," said Troxel, who celebrated her one-year anniversary with Don Schumacher Racing this weekend. "We started making changes on the third qualifying pass, and we were seeing improvement. We just didn't have quite enough passes to get it all sorted out.

"I feel like we were kind of behind the 8-ball all weekend. We didn't really have a good setup coming into this event, so that hurt us. When we came here last year it was our first event as a team, so we were using all hand-me-down parts and equipment, and what we had did not really translate to the new equipment we are running this year."

On her falling to second in the points for the first time this season: "The last couple of races we've had that points lead narrowing and narrowing, and everyone was commenting on it. This may not be a bad thing; it will kind of get that off our back. Now, Doug can be the leader and have that. There's still plenty of races left and I know that this Skull Shine team still has a lot left in it. It's a little disappointing to not have the lead, but in the end, it might be a blessing.

"It's sad to say this because it's my hometown track, but we are looking forward to getting out of here and going to Seattle."

Troxel travels to Seattle, Wash., next for the Schuck's NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways, July 21-23.

Troxel Out in Opening Round in ETown - 6/18/06

Melanie Troxel left the K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway today still atop the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points standings, despite her first opening-round loss of the season.

Troxel was defeated by Larry Dixon under sunny and steamy, near-90-degree conditions at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. She launched first off the line, with a .081 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Dixon's .102, then held the lead until the 1000-ft. mark (of 1320 feet), until the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster began to lose traction. Dixon crossed the finish line as the winner, with a 4.674-second ET at 320.43 mph, to Troxel's losing 4.828/250.69. Margin of victory: .1333 of a second.

When second-in-points Doug Kalitta advanced to the second round, Troxel's points lead appeared to be in jeopardy. As luck would have it, Kalitta was then dismissed in the second round by Rod Fuller, and Troxel held on to her lead by 48 points over Kalitta.

"Even though we had some hot weather conditions in Topeka (Memorial Day), we were still adjusting to them here," said Troxel. "We didn't have any conditions like this in qualifying (this weekend), so we knew that we were going to have to make some changes going up there first round.

"Unfortunately, the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels dragster spun the tires down track and kicked the belt off. We had a pretty good lead on Larry up until that point, so I think we're still fairly happy with some things, even though obviously it was not the turnout we hoped for.

"Sooner or later we were going to lose first round. It's tough here because Doug could have taken the lead from us. But, even if he had, it's early in the season and I'm sure we're going to battle back and forth all season."

Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., June 23-25.

Troxel Enters Englishtown Eliminations from No. 11 Spot - 6/18/06

Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel struggled some in qualifying for the K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, but secured the No. 11 spot by setting a 4.608-second pass at 320.13 mph in the hot and humid final qualifying round.

Her goal, as always, is to go rounds in eliminations on Sunday in the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels dragster in her attempt to stay atop the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel point standings.

"We certainly haven't done as well as we would have liked to (in qualifying)," she said of the last two events (No. 12 and No. 11). Our first run out of the box was a nice conservative run (4.621/320.58), but since then we haven't really seen what we've wanted. We didn't make it down the track all the way to the finish line until the last session."

Her other two qualifying passes resulted in a 9.703/85.09 after losing traction on Friday night, while a burnt piston slowed her to a 4.652/278.86 in Saturday's third round.

"I think that 4.60 in the heat of the day was a very good run," she said, "but unfortunately in qualifying you're going to have to make a good run in better conditions than what we faced today. But, on the upside, we have a good tune-up for race day. I think we have a good shot in eliminations tomorrow.

"We have great confidence in the fact that the qualifying spot doesn't matter much to us (won from the No. 9 position at the Winternationals, reached two other finals from bottom-half of the field). It seems like once we get a good run under our belts on Sunday, we just progress and work our way through the field," she said.

"Every pass is definitely important [to stay in] the championship. The real thing that's going to tell the story for tomorrow is which of us goes further in eliminations, us or Doug Kalitta. We're just going to take it round by round. We can't worry too much about what he's doing. We just go up and do the best we can on race day."

Troxel faces Larry Dixon in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday (today June 18).

To Love, Until a Green Light Do They Part - 6/17/06

Drag racing works a little differently from other motor sports. Drivers are seeded over four qualifying runs, and then the top 16 drivers compete in a single-elimination tournament, two drivers at a time, on a quarter-mile drag strip.

A driver can be eliminated in a matter of intense seconds filled with smoke and thunderous noise. The losing team usually packs up and heads home.

Tommy Johnson Jr., a funny-car driver from Ottumwa, Iowa, has often been eliminated from National Hot Rod Association events this season before Melanie Troxel, a top-fuel driver from Littleton, Colo. Once he is knocked out, Johnson may want to leave, but he has to stick around. Johnson and Troxel have been married for more than two years.

While Johnson is struggling to stay in the race for the funny-car title, Troxel has rocketed to the top of the top-fuel division.

"I used to think it wouldn't be a problem," Troxel, seated beside her husband during an interview this week, said about her success.

Johnson smiled and said, "Now I'm thinking it will be a problem."

Being the world's fastest couple is not always a smooth ride.

Coming into an N.H.R.A. event in Englishtown, N.J., this weekend, Troxel, 33, has made the finals in 7 of 10 events in her first full season in the top-fuel division. She has won twice.

"For us to go to as many finals as we have, yes, it's a little bit surprising," she said of her team's success. "I expected us to be competitive, but we've surpassed that."

Johnson, 38, has not been slow. He is rated sixth in funny cars and had a career-best qualifying run last weekend in Joliet, Ill., in a car owned by Don Prudhomme. But he has made it to the finals once this season. That means he has to hang around to watch Troxel.

"I'd be long gone several times if it weren't for her," he said.

Troxel did not compete for almost two years. Her part-time top-fuel ride fell through midway through the 2003 season. Before she landed a full-time spot with Don Schumacher Racing in June 2005, she sold tools to other race teams.

She could not hop in a dragster and take a few 7,000-horsepower practice runs. The stress on engines is so severe that parts usually need to be replaced each time the car is driven; Troxel said that an average pass costs a team about $5,000.

Her first pass with her new team, in fact, was a qualifying run for her first event. Troxel made the finals at the last N.H.R.A. event of 2005, then set a record by making the finals of the first five events this season.

"She was in a much better mood when she was driving again," Johnson said.

Troxel has become a marketing centerpiece for the N.H.R.A. in much the same way that Danica Patrick is for the Indy Racing League. The N.H.R.A. has had close to 40 women compete as professionals in its top divisions. Entering this weekend, the standings in two of those divisions were led by female drivers.

Troxel and Johnson met in 1988 at a drag strip in Colorado. Troxel, 15 at the time, was there because her father, Mike, raced in the top-alcohol class. She became friends with Johnson's younger sister, Wendy.

They started dating in 2000 and were married in Indianapolis on Dec. 31, 2003. They now live in Avon, Ind.

There are 23 events in the series, so they are often on the road. Because they drive for different teams, they do not see each other much on race weekends.

As a condition of working for Schumacher Racing, Troxel cannot talk with her husband about mechanical specifics.

But they can talk about the weather and the track, even though there is hardly time for that. Teams have only 75 minutes between runs.

Johnson seems ready to match some of his wife's success.

"I'd like to get on a roll and dominate the class a little bit," he said.

His wife has set the family standard.

Troxel Nominated for ESPY Driver of the Year & Best Female Athlete - 6/26/06

NHRA Top Fuel driver Melanie Troxel, the season-long NHRA POWERade Series championship leader with two victories in seven final round appearances, has been nominated for two ESPY Awards including the prestigious Best Female Athlete award, it was announced today.

Troxel becomes the fourth NHRA POWERade Series driver to be nominated for an ESPY and the first to be nominated in two categories – she was also nominated in the Best Driver category.

“This is definitely a dream season for me,” said Troxel, who will compete in the balloting for Best Female Athlete with LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam, WNBA standout Sheryl Swoopes and Olympic Gold Medal winning Snowboarder Hannah Teter. “I appreciate the support of all the NHRA drag-racing fans out there who have followed my career and who continue to be my biggest fans.”

The ESPY Awards, for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly, were created by ESPN in 1993. Sports fans can vote for Troxel and other sports heroes in each of 36 different categories via an online poll at

Troxel, 33, set an NHRA record for the most consecutive final round appearances (five) to open a season in Top Fuel. The quickest (4.458 seconds) and fastest (331.04 mph) female racer in NHRA history, she is trying to join legendary Shirley Muldowney as the only women in NHRA history to win a Top Fuel world championship title. Muldowney earned three during her driving career.

Earlier this year Troxel beat out NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and IRL’s Helio Castroneves to win the prestigious DRIVER OF THE YEAR first quarter award, which is voted on by a distinguished panel of auto racing journalists. It is the first time in the 40-year history of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR award that a woman has won the quarterly or year-end vote.

Troxel will get a second chance to pit her impressive credentials against best drivers across all forms of auto racing as she will be joined on the ESPY Best Driver ballot by NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart and IRL drivers Sam Hornish and Dan Wheldon.

“It's a tremendous honor to be considered for an ESPY award as best driver,” Troxel said. “To be even nominated among the outstanding racing drivers on the list is something I could never have dreamed of achieving.”

Troxel, a Denver native who now calls Avon, Ind. home, joins John Force, Tony Pedregon and Greg Anderson as the only professional drag racers ever to be nominated for ESPY Awards and all were nominated in the Best Driver category.

Anderson, the three-time defending Pro Stock world champion (2003-’05) and 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR was nominated in 2005. Pedregon, the 2003 Funny Car world champion, was nominated in 2004. Force, a 13-time Funny Car world champion and winner of an NHRA-record 120 events, was nominated in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Past ESPY Best Driver winners include stock car racers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, a three-time winner, Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett, and open wheel drivers Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser Jr., Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher.

Past ESPY Best Female Athlete winners include Annika Sorenstam, Mia Hamm, Serena and Venus Williams, Marion Jones, Julie Krone and Bonnie Blair, among others.

The 2006 ESPY winners will be announced during the ESPY Awards at the spectacular Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on July 12. The ESPYs will be televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET, preceded by the ESPY Red Carpet Special on ESPN News on July 12 at 7 p.m. ET.

Turnin' 10 with Melanie Troxel - 6/1/06

Melanie Troxel was atop the standings with a sizeable lead. This comes as no surprise to diehard NHRA fans who could see this coming at the end of the 2005 season. In two of the last three events she qualified second, and finished runner-up to Tony Schumacher in the final event at Pomona. With a solid owner in Don Schumacher and an experienced crew, the sky is the limit for Troxel.

GIR On-line caught up with Melanie recently to talk about the season, what it is like being married to a fellow NHRA racer (Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr.) and how women continue to play a prominent role in drag racing!

GIR On-line: You have had great success through the first third of the season and lead a very competitive Top Fuel class. What do you attribute this to?

MT: “The team is what it boils down to. There is not any one of us who can go out and make this happen on our own. We've got a great crew chief, who is doing a terrific job at running on race-day conditions, guys who give me a consistent car, and I'm just trying to do the best at my job out there. And, of course, the resources of Don Schumacher, who gives us everything we need to put together a competitive team, including negotiating the sponsorship with Skull Shine and Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels.”

GIR On-line: How much did the end of 2005 (the last three starts the average qualifying spot was 2nd - and a runner-up finish to Tony Schumacher in the final event) help you heading into 2006?

MT: “I definitely think that 2006 is just a continuation of the end of 2005, and we certainly saw definite improvement coming late in the season. This for us is just a continuation on that. Even though we took several months off, we just tried to build on that same program into the beginning of this season.”

GIR On-line: What is it like working with Don Schumacher and a caliber team?

MT: “Don Schumacher absolutely knows what it takes to come out here and put together teams that are able to win championships and that's obviously his No. 1 goal. He gives us everything we need and we know he's completely behind the team and whatever we need to do to go out and win races.”

GIR On-line: In other motorsports, teammates will discuss how they handle a track. Do you and other drivers with Schumacher racing talk about set-ups at certain track, or are you strictly competition for each other?

MT: “There's definitely something individual about a certain race track. We'll certainly discuss that. There's not a whole lot of information, I think, that's proprietary between the teams. But, sure, we'll certainly help each other out and offer information if we think there's something that would benefit a teammate.”

GIR On-line: Richard Hogan is a very respected Crew Chief in the NHRA. How much of a help has he, and the team, been to your success thus far?

MT: “They are my success. And it's actually not my success, it's our success. It's a team operation here. Obviously the driver usually gets a lot of the attention. I just happen to be one member of 10 of us that it takes to go out and make this car run.”

GIR On-line: Though the NHRA is probably the most diverse in motorsports, do you feel that your success (and that of Angelle Sampey and Erica Enders, Hillary Will) continues to help grow the sport with women?

MT: “I think drag racing is so far ahead of the curve that we're certainly seeing a greater number of women in the pro ranks this year over the last couple of years, but this is nothing new in the big picture. There have been women involved in the pro ranks and successful in drag racing for years. I think this is just a continuation of that.”

GIR On-line: How much does it help that your husband (Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr.) is in the same profession as yourself?

MT: “I don't think our relationship would work any other way, if one of us was heading out on the road and the other one was at home. We're definitely both very committed to making it in this sport, as this is both our careers. Probably the best part of our relationship is the fact that we have somebody else who understands our commitment to do this, understands the demands on our time, to really make this work, and we're completely supportive of each other.”

GIR On-line: Have you raced against each other in the past - if not, who would win if you were running the same type of cars in a race?

MT: “We haven't had the opportunity to race against each other and that might be a good thing, considering we're both extremely competitive people and have a hard time turning that competitiveness off. But I would have to tell you that we're both going to tell you that we would be the winner. You have to think that you're the best race car driver out here - probably every driver out here will tell you that they're the best race car driver – and that's what makes each of us individually good.”

GIR On-line: What is the best thing about racing for a living?

MT: “This is all I've ever wanted to do for a living. I love every aspect of it. I love traveling, having a strange schedule. I don't think I could do the 9 to 5, going to the same place every day. Obviously, driving the race car is incredible and that would probably have to rank as the best part, but I love every aspect of it.”

GIR On-line: If you weren't racing what would you be doing for a living?

MT: “I still have my own business, selling tools to teams out here and that's what I've been doing when I haven't been racing and I'm sure I would still be doing that, but I've never really considered anything else but this. There's really no backup plan.”

You can catch Melanie and all of your favorite NHRA stars on June 23-25 in the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway! Call 1-866-35-SPEED
Source: Joe Zydlo - with special thanks to Judy Stropus,

Troxel Hangs on to No. 1 in Topeka Qualifying - 5.27.06

Under extremely hot and sunny conditions, with temperatures in the 90s and track temperatures reaching 130 degrees today, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel held on to the No. 1 qualifying position she earned Friday night.

Troxel captured her second career No. 1 qualifying spot and her second of the season, with her solid 4.567-second elapsed time at 321.50 mph. Her other passes included a 4.761/264.29, a 4.753/294.11 and a 4.738/271.24.

"Everybody knows that Friday night qualifying means absolutely nothing when it comes to Sunday," said Troxel. "We felt pretty good about how the car's running. The track's awfully slick down there (at the top end) so we haven't actually run it (all the way) to the finish line on any pass but Friday night's.

"We assume it would probably make it, but we're trying to take it easy on parts and tomorrow if we can't keep it hooked up down track we're just going to have to leg it down there. That's probably our biggest concern, hurting parts and potential oil downs down track.

"No. 1 spot hasn't really been a good place for people to be so far this year, but we're planning on breaking that jinx tomorrow. That's our game plan, to go out and make more consistent runs."

Troxel faces No. 16 qualifier Alan Bradshaw in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

Heartland Park Has Been a Welcome Site for NHRA’s “Driver Of The Year” Winners

Heartland Park Topeka has played like a home away from home for the NHRA drivers who’ve won the prestigious Driver of the Year award.

Melanie Troxel is hoping for more of the same when the NHRA POWERade Series returns to Heartland Park Topeka, May 25-28 for the 18th annual O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals presented by Castrol GTX.

Troxel was recently awarded the Driver of the Year foundation’s award for the first quarter of 2006, beating out IRL’s Helio Castroneves and NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne. All she did to garner the attention of the national panel of motorsports writers and broadcasters who vote on the award was advance to five of six final rounds, win two races and lead the POWERade Series standings wire-to-wire.

“I just can’t believe that we are going to this many final rounds,” said Troxel, who after receiving the award proceeded to advance to another final round at Atlanta Dragway, where she finished runner-up to Doug Kalitta. “It feels like a dream. It is just so incredible.”

History is certainly on Troxel’s side as she heads for Heartland Park Topeka.

A year ago, 1996 Driver of the Year John Force won his eighth overall race at the Kansas track – more than any other POWERade Series driver there – while 2004 Driver of the Year Greg Anderson won his third consecutive race there.

A sweep by the two NHRA Drivers of the Year and the 2006 first quarter winner is hardly out of the question.

Entering the event, Troxel is in first place in Top Fuel, Force is in second place in Funny Car and Anderson is in first place in Pro Stock.

For Troxel, it would be her first win at Heartland Park Topeka, but in a season of impressive firsts it would hardly come as a surprise.

Troxel has become the first woman in the 40-year history of the Driver of the Year foundation to win one of its quarterly or year-end awards and with her five final-round appearances to start the 2006 season she became the first driver (male or female) in the history of the Top Fuel class to open a season with five consecutive final rounds.

“It seems like we can do no wrong. I don’t want to wake up from this,” said Troxel, who a year ago at this time was unemployed (she had previously competed in Top Fuel in 2000 and 2002). She was signed by Don Schumacher Racing last summer and has now run in 18 events, beginning with Denver in July of 2005. Topeka will be her 20th event since her return to full-time racing.

It’s been a remarkable ascent for Troxel and while she is deservedly hogging the headlines – her story has been chronicled by CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, USA Today and a number of local affiliates and metropolitan newspapers – she is by no means alone in carrying on the legacy begun by Shirley Muldowney 30 years prior.

Hillary Will – a Muldowney protégé – is a rookie in Top Fuel while second-year driver Erica Enders is currently in third place in Pro Stock. In the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, which runs an abbreviated 15-race schedule, Angelle Sampey leads the series standings with three victories and Karen Stoffer sits in fifth place.

And when NHRA returns to Topeka in 2007, there may be a woman competing in each of the three classes represented there. John Force’s daughter Ashley, who currently competes in the Lucas Oil Series and has won five national events in the Top Alcohol dragster category in her career, earned her Funny Car license earlier this year in Las Vegas.

To be sure, this move by the women is not an anomaly, but rather a trend. After eight of 23 events (four in Pro Stock Motorcycle) in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Series season:

· A woman leads in Top Fuel (Troxel leads by 154 points over Doug Kalitta); a woman is in fourth place in Pro Stock (Enders is 97 points shy of Anderson); and a woman is in first place in Pro Stock Motorcycle (Sampey leads Andrew Hines by 36).

· Troxel is 22-6 final elimination record so far this season for a .786 winning percentage.

· Enders is fourth in points in Pro Stock with two No. 2 qualifiers and two No. 3 qualifiers so far in 2006. She has also advanced to one final round (her second career final round) and one semifinal (her third career semifinal).

· Will has qualified sixth or better at five of the seven events in 2006.

· Stoffer returned to action at the Gatornationals – after recovering from a freak accident that left her with numerous broken bones – by qualifying No. 6 and advancing to the quarterfinals. She advanced to the semis in Atlanta and is fifth in the POWERade Series standings.

It was 30 years ago, back on June 13, 1976 at Columbus, Ohio, that Muldowney broke the gender-barrier with the first win by a female in NHRA’s premier class, Top Fuel.

Today, Muldowney bears witness to her legacy at every national event which she attends as a member of Team Kalitta, most notably as the mentor to the 26-year old Will. The team also includes Doug and Scott Kalitta and Dave Grubnic, who stood in Troxel’s way at the Gatornationals.

“Seeing all the women in the final round is great for the sport,” said Dave Grubnic, who defeated Troxel at Gainesville in the Top Fuel finals but was runner-up to Troxel at Las Vegas. “Of course, Shirley Muldowney, who is on our team got it all started and she’ll tell you just like these girls today will tell you that they just want to be thought of as competitors. That's how I look at them.”

All in all it figures to be an awfully competitive weekend at Heartland Park as the 2006 POWERade Series world championship chases begin to really heat up.

Troxel Pads Points Lead after Second-Round Loss in Columbus - 5/21/06

Melanie Troxel, driving the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, padded her points lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel standings today at the Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway, despite a second-round loss to Cory McClenathan.

Her closest competitor, Doug Kalitta, second in points, was ousted in the first round, giving Troxel a 154-point lead after eight of 23 events this season.

Troxel handily eliminated Morgan Lucas in the first round with a stout 4.551-second pass at 323.74 mph to Lucas' 5.038/217.00, then lost traction in the second round against McClenathan. Troxel slowed to an 8.869/82.55 lap, with McClenathan, who also smoked the tires but recovered first, taking the win with a 5.019/302.48.

"The bottom line is, as long as you walk away from the race with a first-round loss, then it's not that bad of a weekend," said Troxel. "Dougie went out a round before us, so we made a little ground there.

"It wasn't a bad weekend. I think we've gotten a little spoiled with all these final rounds (six of the first seven events). We're not extremely disappointed with this weekend, but we're certainly disappointed.

"The car went out there and shook early in the run (against McClenathan), and, even though they didn't run very well, we were out of it early on in that pass."

Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan., May 25-28.

Troxel Qualifies Fifth at National Trail in Columbus - 5/20/06

NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel used a strong first-session qualifying run of 4.529 seconds at 303.03 mph to nail down the No. 5 spot for Sunday's final eliminations at National Trail Raceway. It marks the fifth (of eight) straight events in which she has qualified the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster in the top half of the 16-car field.

Troxel completed only two other qualifying rounds, as Friday night's session was shortened because of rain. They produced a 10.061/79.06 lap after losing traction, and a 4.607/300.53 when the engine expired at the end of the quarter-mile.

"We were fortunate to run a really good number right out of the box," she said. "It certainly puts you at ease for the rest of qualifying, where you can focus on your race set-up.

"We would have liked to have taken a shot at the No. 1 spot in that Friday night session, but it didn't happen because of the weather, which is fine because we are more concerned with race-day conditions.

"Today we tried some stuff to see what we could get away with, and in the first run we didn't get down the track. Then, in the second run the car was going down the track, but we had some engine problems at the top end and it let go," said the 33-year-old Colorado native.

"Looking at the bright side, at least it happened today instead of Sunday when it would have cost us points in addition to the fine we will have to pay," she said, referring to points penalties that are meted out to teams that oil down the track in eliminations.

"The Skull Shine guys are going to have to work extra hard to get the car ready for tomorrow, but they are great guys, so I know I'll have a good race car on Sunday."

Troxel squares off against Morgan Lucas in the first round of final eliminations, whom she's beaten four times so far this season. Neither has lost in the first round after seven events. "Anything can happen on race day, so we're definitely going to have to be on top of our game," she said.

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Days before the Southern Nationals, racing journalists and broadcasters voted Troxel the quarterly Driver of the Year. She edged NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves to become the first woman winner in the award's 40-year history.

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Melanie Troxel will be featured on the popular national network news show, CBS Sunday Morning, with host Charles Osgood, this Sunday, May 14. Please go to to check the air time in your area.

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Melanie Troxel, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Top Fuel points leader and two-time national event winner this season, will be a guest on the ABC Sports pole-day coverage of qualifying for the Indy 500 this Saturday, May 13. Troxel, the hottest Top Fuel driver in NHRA right now, will share the ABC Sports broadcast booth with commentator Marty Reid sometime during the 3-6 p.m. ET event coverage on the national network. Driving the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, in her first full season of Top Fuel competition, Troxel has reached the final round in six of the first seven events in 2006, and holds the record as the first Top Fuel driver in NHRA history to make it into five consecutive final rounds at the start of a season.

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Melanie Troxel, points leader in Top Fuel, took second at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Baytown, TX.

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Melanie Troxel raced to her second Top Fuel victory of the year and became the first driver to advance to the final round in the first five events of a season Sunday in the NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas. It also was Troxel's sixth consecutive final, and she is one final short of the NHRA record for most consecutive finals in Top Fuel, set by Tony Schumacher in 2005.
Source: USA Today April 10, 2006

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Top Fuel points leader Melanie Troxel saw her points lead shrink after a second-round loss to Rod Fuller at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Birstol, TN. The early exit ended her streak of final-round appearances at six.

Will Troxel make it a lucky seven?

Top Fuel driver Melanie Troxel became the first Top Fuel driver to advance to five straight finals to open a season -- six straight dating to last year -- and won at Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.

At this rate, people might start asking Melanie Troxel about her bruises.

The Top Fuel sensation has been pinching herself throughout her wildly successful season.

In her first full year as a pro, Troxel became the first Top Fuel driver to advance to five straight finals to open a season -- six straight dating to last year -- and won at Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.

Troxel reached her sixth final of the season two weeks ago at the Southern Nationals and enters this weekend's Pontiac Performance Nationals in first place in points.

Troxel leads Doug Kalitta 636-504 in the standings. Dave Grubnic is third at 434.

Days before the Southern Nationals, racing journalists and broadcasters voted Troxel the quarterly Driver of the Year. She edged NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and IRL's Helio Castroneves to become the first woman winner in the award's 40-year history.

"Now I'm trying to find escape routes" from autograph-seekers and the media, joked Troxel, who did not compete in 2004 and broke back into the pro ranks in the middle of the 2005 season.

"I'm not good about walking away from people and just saying no, but I can't walk and sign. I sign (an autograph), take three steps and sign another one. It's a good thing."

Troxel, whose husband Tommy Johnson Jr. races in Funny Car, was in and out of drag racers for several years before switching from Don Prudhomme to Don Schumacher Racing in 2005. Her first four races ended in first-round qualifying losses, and the next three were second-round exits, but no one in camp was overly concerned. Because of Troxel's late entrance, her team treated last year as something of a dry run.

"She was rusty when we started but we knew that, and once she got back into the swing of things that helped," said Richard Hogan, Troxel's crew chief.

"I know in the past, her last couple teams weren't funded really well, so it wasn't like (she had) a full-time crew. Not everything was the same every week, so it probably affected her driving a little bit and her getting comfortable.

"She's just getting better and better."

Troxel's late surge last year paved the way for this season. She became the quickest and fastest female in NHRA history at Ennis, Texas, with runs of 330.31 mph and 4.458 seconds in the O'Reilly Fall Nationals. She advanced to the semifinals there, losing to teammate Tony Schumacher, who also edged her in the season's final race at Pomona, Calif.

Though her team still seeks consistency on race day more than during qualifying, Troxel admitted she's setting her goals higher. Only two other NHRA drivers, 13-time Funny Car champion John Force and three-time defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, have won Driver of the Year.

"I expected to win two races by the halfway point," Troxel said after her Las Vegas victory. "A lot of people may not have put us on the map to win a championship, but there's no reason we can't do it."

Source: Dave Purpura can be reached at 740.328.8823 or E-Mail

Driver: Melanie Troxel, Top Fuel Driver, NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing Series

Attractive. Articulate. Confident. Accomplished. Competing in the NHRA’s Top Fuel division, Melanie Troxel is one of drag racing's fastest female drivers.

The appeal of women sports figures has never been greater; from Marion Jones and Gabriella Reese, to Annika Sorenstam and the Williams sisters, women today rival men for marketability and profitability. And rightly so. Fans of all ages, sexes and backgrounds appreciate the skill and commitment required to succeed.

Melanie has credibility. She's spent a lifetime perfecting her craft and earned her place in the drag racing community by learning everything there is to know about the equipment and the people. She grew up around the racetrack, assembling cars like other girls assemble outfits. Her father is veteran drag racer Mike Troxel. Her mother, Barbara, was an accomplished airplane mechanic before marrying Mike. She made the transition to cars easily, and inspired Melanie with her example.

Melanie inherited both their love for the sport and their work ethic. She ran her first race at age 16 - the soonest she was able to get her racing license - in a car with an engine she rebuilt herself. Today Melanie is not only one of the fastest female drag racers, she is also one of the fastest in the world; her top speed is 326 miles per hour.

Can you imagine 0 to 3 Gs in less then a second?

A Top Fuel car accelerates from 0-100 mph in 0.9 seconds and 0-330 mph in 4.5 seconds. Drivers experience a force of 5 Gs at the start of the race, which is equivalent to 5 times their body weight pushing against them. They experience a force of 3.5 to 5 Gs negative Gs when deploying the parachute to slow the car (Like being rear ended by a diesel going 100 mph). In addition to the forces, a driver needs to keep the car straight while trying to beat the other racer to the finish line!

Melanie has succeeded on skill alone. A tight budget limits her race participation. But with adequate funding, Melanie could participate in races across the country and continue to improve her performance. For instance, in 2002 she amassed 407 points, finishing 12th in 10 races. By projecting this average point total per race, she would have finished with 936 points in a full 23-race schedule which would have landed her in 10th place in final points.

In each of the last two years Melanie qualified for every event she entered and made it to the elimination rounds. There are 4 qualification rounds and 4 elimination rounds to determine a winner. That’s 3 days and at least 5 races of direct exposure to a captivated and interested audience.

As for the sport, drag racing offers tremendous exposure. With 23 nationally televised events annually, it draws more than 2 million fans live and a television audience encompassing more than 70 million viewers. A sponsor’s name on the side of Melanie's winning car or her helmet can translate into significant exposure value.

Aside from her obvious accomplishments as a drag racer, Melanie is articulate and attractive. She has announced for ESPN-2, interviewing other racers and providing color for broadcast. Relaxed and knowledgeable, she was a credible resource for the show, pairing beauty and brains to draw both men and women viewers. She was also a hit on Late Night with David Letterman in May, easily chatting with him during an impromptu interview.

An avid trainer, Melanie lifts weights and does cardio exercises to stay fit. She appreciates her femininity, in spite of the male domination of her sport, and is confident enough to be herself. Women can admire and relate to her - she competes with men on equal footing and succeeds, yet admits she diets and exercises to keep her shape. Men appreciate her too - she's pretty, funny, friendly AND knows more about cars than they do. Teens look up to her - they love the speed of the sport, but she makes it more attainable - if she can do it, maybe they can too.

Melanie Troxel has the potential to do with drag racing what Tiger Woods did with golf. Because he is young, talented, charming, and not the typical golf pro, he made golf accessible to the masses and made millions for his sponsors. Melanie is not the typical drag racer, but she is young, beautiful, and talented. She's ready to be the vehicle for a sponsor to reach millions of viewers and make millions in revenue.

Diva Calendar


NHRA POWERade DRAG RACING SERIES Top Fuel Points Standings following U.S.Nationals (Sept. 4, 2006):

1. Doug Kalitta, 1,306
2. Tony Schumacher, 1,252
3. Brandon Bernstein, 1,210
4. Melanie Troxel, 1,166
5. David Grubnic, 1,019
6. Rod Fuller, 1,012
7. Larry Dixon, 968
8. Morgan Lucas, 862
9. Hillary Will, 834
10. Cory McClenathan, 815

2011: Posted a semifinal finish at Dallas; Set a career best for time and speed

2010: Melanie is competing in select races in the NHRA Full Throttle Series with a Nitro Funny Car and all ten races of the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. She will also compete in three of the FIA Europe Pro Mod Races, driving a 1968 Camaro Pro Mod Reached semi's at Pomona 2; Qualified for 13 of 15 races

2009: Competed in Pro Mod exhibitions

2008: Earned her first win in a Funny Car in Bristol, just two races after Ashley Force became the first woman in NHRA history to do so; First year of direct competition with her husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., after Troxel switched to Funny Car from Top Fuel for 2008

2007: Announced at Mac Tools U.S. Nationals a move from Top Fuel to Funny Car in 2008; Won two races in four final-round appearances; Earned second Top 10 finish of her career

2006: Became the eighth female to win a pro category in NHRA history and the sixth to win a Top Fuel event with her victory at Pomona 1; Earned two victories in nine final round appearances; Set the Top Fuel record for most consecutive final round appearances to open a season (5); Earned two No. 1 qualifying awards; Became the eighth female in NHRA history to earn a No. 1 qualifying position in a pro category; Nominated for two ESPY awards (best driver and best female athlete); Named the winner of the prestigious Driver of the Year first quarter award; First female to ever be named a quarterly winner of the prestigious Driver of the Year award; Named Sportswoman of the Year by Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation; Clocked career-best speed at Atlanta; Led the POWERade Series point standings for the first 12 races of the season; Posted first career POWERade Top 10 points finish

2005: Posted runner-up finish at Pomona 2; Became quickest and fastest female in NHRA history with career-best performances

2000: Switched to Top Fuel class after four seasons in Federal-Mogul Dragster; Won the Auto Club of Southern California's Road to the Future award; Named as a finalist for Rookie of the Year; Runner-up at O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas

Racing Accomplishments

Notable: Captured two NHRA national event victories in Top Alcohol dragster in 1999 (Seattle and Topeka); Owns a specialty automotive tool shop that supplies tools to race teams and machine shops.

  • Fastest time/Speed 4.458 ET/ 331.04 MPH
  • Fastest driver in 2000 - 326.08
  • 2000 NHRA Road to the Future Award winner
  • 2000 Top Fuel Runner Up - NHRA O’Reilly Fall Nationals, Dallas, Texas
  • Two-time NHRA champion and record holder in Alcohol Dragster class
  • NHRA top fuel drag racer signed with Hostess Twinkies
  • Daughter of late Mike Troxel, 1988 NHRA Alcohol Dragster champion


Bob Frey comments: All along I have said that Melanie Troxel would be my first pick if I were in Don's shoes, or any other team looking for a driver for that matter. Melanie has a lot to offer and she would be a very good addition to any team. In the midst of all of this Danica Patrick frenzy, having a female drive your car has to be considered a plus, if, and it's a big if, if she has the proper credentials and Melanie certainly does. She has driven alcohol dragsters and Top Fuel cars and has a very good knowledge of what makes these cars tick. Imagine some media type asking her about the technical aspect of a Top Fuel car and then getting quite a recitation from Melanie. She is attractive (no letters please, I simply mean that as a point of fact and a compliment), bright, well spoken and doesn't seem to have any draw backs. That said, she would be my first choice by a wide margin."Melanie Troxel

2007 NHRA POWERade DRAG RACING SCHEDULE ON ESPN2 - (All times Eastern)

Feb. 10 Pomona Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Feb. 11 Pomona Finals, 8 p.m.
Feb. 24 Phoenix Qualifying, 12 midnight
Feb. 24 Phoenix Finals, 7 p.m.
Mar. 18 Gainesville Qualifying, 1:30 a.m.
Mar. 18 Gainesville Finals, 5 p.m.
Mar. 31 Houston Qualifying, 7 p.m.
Apr. 1 Houston Finals, 4 p.m.
Apr. 14 Las Vegas Qualifying, 6 p.m
Apr. 15 Las Vegas Finals, 7 p.m.
Apr. 28 Atlanta Qualifying, 7 p.m.
Apr. 29 Atlanta Finals, 7 p.m.
May 6 St. Louis Qualifying, 5 p.m.
May 6 St. Louis Finals, 7 p.m.
May 19 Bristol Qualifying, 6:30 p.m.
May 20 Bristol Finals, 8 p.m.
June 2 Topeka Qualifying, 6 p.m.
June 3 Topeka Finals, 4 p.m.
June 9 Chicago Qualifying, 5 p.m.
June 10 Chicago Finals, 4 p.m.
June 23 Englishtown Qualifying, 11 p.m.
June 24 Englishtown Finals, 10 p.m.
June 30 Norwalk Qualifying, 8 p.m.
July 1 Norwalk Finals, 8 p.m.
July 14 Denver Qualifying, 10 p.m.
July 15 Denver Finals, 9 p.m.
July 21 Seattle Qualifying, 11:30 p.m.
July 22 Seattle Finals, 7 p.m.
July 28 Sonoma Qualifying, 6 p.m.
July 29 Sonoma Finals, 7 p.m.
Aug. 12 Brainerd Qualifying, 12:30 a.m.
Aug. 12 Brainerd Finals, 7 p.m.
Aug. 18 Reading Qualifying, 6 p.m.
Aug. 19 Reading Finals, 10 p.m.
Sep. 2 Indianapolis Qualifying 1, 12:30 a.m.
Sep. 2 Indianapolis Qualifying 2, 12 noon
Sep. 2 Indianapolis Qualifying 3, 11 p.m.
Sep. 3 Indianapolis Finals 1, 12 noon
Sep. 3 Indianapolis Finals 2, 7 p.m.
Sep. 15 Memphis Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Sep. 16 Memphis Finals, 7 p.m.
Sep. 22 Dallas Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Sep. 23 Dallas Finals, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 Richmond Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Oct. 7 Richmond Finals, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 Las Vegas Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Oct. 28 Las Vegas Finals, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3 Pomona Qualifying, 10 p.m.
Nov. 4 Pomona Finals, 7 p.m.

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