Melanie Troxel, the fan favorite drive that’s been behind the controls of almost everything in the sport with wheels on it, confirmed via her Facebook page on Friday that effective immediately, team owner Roger Burgess has ceased operations of the Funny Car portion of R2B2 Racing.
“R2B2 Racing is shutting down the funny car operation as of today. We are all very sad about the news, but as John Medlen says this is just the end of one chapter, a new one starts tomorrow. I have had a wonderful 4 years with this team, and am very grateful to Roger Burgess for the opportunities he provided. I will continue to work on sponsorship and have spoken with several teams about adding another car. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I will keep you posted on how its going.”
Troxel, who piloted both the In-N-Out Burger Funny Car and R2B2?s “Silver Bullet” ’53 Corvette Pro Modified entry, will not drive for the team in 2012 as she searches out new marketing partners and driving opportunities for the future. There have no reports to suggest that Burgess and R2B2 will not continue their Pro Modified efforts, although which cars the team will campaign and who will drive is unknown. Tuner Steve Petty, who helped carry R2B2 drivers to wins at 4 of the series’ 10 races last year, recently took his talents to Troy Coughlin’s JEG’S operation for 2012.
Troxel’s In-N-Out partnership, which continues back to her days competing in Top Alcohol Dragster, only covered a part-time schedule in 2011, while the remaining events were run without major sponsorship. Thus, the lack of a major full-time sponsor has brought an abrupt end to the R2B2 Funny Car operation, and leaves Troxel, veteran crew chief John Medlen, and the entire crew without work in a season that begins in just two weeks.
Troxel had a rather tumultuous beginning to the 2011 campaign, failing to qualify at the first first five races of the season before turning the corner under the guidance of Medlen. The former Top Fuel winner claimed her only Funny Car win at Bristol in 2008.