CHARLOTTE (Sept. 18) – Melanie Troxel drove the In-N-Out Burger turbo Corvette to a runner-up finish Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, cementing a 1-2 finish for R2B2 Racing in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Series.
Troxel lost to teammate Leah Pruett in the final. Troxel got off the line first and ran a 5.915 second pass at 247.57 mph, but it wasn’t enough to beat the hard-charging Pruett, who ran a lap of 5.843 pass at 253.52 mph.
“(Tuner) Steve Petty was trying to set these cars up to run exactly even, so I knew I’d have to be good on the Tree to have shot at winning,” Troxel said. “I feel good because I did have a really good light in the final, but it just wasn’t our day.
“We had a mechanical problem on the car in Round 2, and it was leaning the car out really severely and cutting the engine out. We’re thinking now that might have done some damage to the engine.”
While disappointed that she wasn’t able to successfully defend her victory at Charlotte, Troxel said Pruett’s win was another boost to the whole R2B2 Racing family.
“It’s all in the family. Leah’s got a win now in the Pro Mods,” Troxel said. “Two in a row for R2B2 and three out of the last four – things are going really well. We have really good, solid cars that, most importantly, go down the track consistently.”
Troxel’s turbo Corvette did slow and smoke a little in her second-round win over Rickie Jones, but her 6.233 second lap at 195.28 mph was enough to beat Jones’ 6.302 at 225.90 mph and get lane choice over Jay Payne in the semifinals.
Repairs were made to the In-N-Out car, and it was back to normal against Payne. Troxel ran a 5.858 second pass at 254.62 mph, which dispatched Payne’s 5.946 at 243.41 mph run.
“Our ETs are maybe a little better than some of the other cars, but the fact that we almost always go down the track is the reason we’re winning races,” Troxel said. “That’s a testament to R2B2 Race Cars and Steve Petty tuning these ProLine engines. We’re looking forward to getting back out to one more this year.”
On the Funny Car side, the team used the In-N-Out Burger Toyota body on Sunday but fell to Jim Head in the opening round.
“We’re still trying to look in to what’s going on with the car,” Troxel said. “It’s carrying the front end. The track is so good out here, it’s carrying the front end for a long ways, which is fine if the car goes straight.
“The car is leaving and making a pretty hard right turn and carrying the front end, which drives me out of the groove. When it sets the front end down, I’ve got to make a pretty aggressive move to get it back.”
Head crossed the line in 4.154 seconds at 295.46 mph, while Troxel had to pedal her way to a 5.877 at 124.68 mph.
“We don’t know if that’s 100 percent of the season why it’s smoking the tires or if we’re a little too aggressive,” Troxel said. “I don’t think the track was as good as we expected it to be this morning. For as good as it’s been all weekend long, most people think it wasn’t as good this morning. We have just been too aggressive in the tuneup.
“But on a positive note, the car continues to run great. Sooner or later, we’ll get these round wins figured out.”
Next for the Funny Car is the AAA of Texas NHRA Nationals Sept. 23-25 at Texas Motorplex. The Get Screened America Pro Mod Series takes a little more than a month off before heading to its season finale, the Oct. 28-30 NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.