Adrenaline Rush: An interview with former NHRA driver, Melanie Troxel

NHRA drag racer, Melanie Troxel was born into motorsports. Her father, Mike Troxel, was a Funny Car champion in 1988 which ignited her interest in racing. She even built her first racing engine in high school before advancing to multiple wins and track titles in her impressive career. What makes Troxel’s career so remarkable though, is her versatility. Under the umbrella of "Drag Racing" she competed at the top level of multiple classes. This included Funny Car, Top Fuel , Promod classes and others. To this day she is the only NHRA driver to win at the highest level of all three of these classes. She explains her love for the sport with the “adrenaline rush of going over 300 mph, the ultimate experience is that of a Top Fuel dragster. You’re out in the open, inches off the ground and you really get the sensation of speed.” An admitted adrenaline junkie, Troxel found her calling in Drag Racing.

It has been a few years since 2006 when she led the Top Fuel title points. Since then, she's taken a step back from racing, returning home to Colorado and working as a realtor. “It’s really hard for me to be a spectator. As a driver it’s not uncommon to have years go by in between driving jobs. I don’t think its ever a bad idea to have a backup plan.” Troxel is yet another driver to realize the necessity of marketing savvy. “As much as we want to think it will be about our driving, a lot of it really comes down to sponsorship.” she explains. Being a female in a male-dominated arena she feels she's been treated fairly but has struggled to maintain sponsorships. The absence of a full- time ride is not due to lack of ability, but to lack of funding. “One thing I wish I understood better after years of racing is why we have struggled to find long term sponsorship for female drivers…the spotlight may be a little more focused on them” she clarifies. 

Though she is no longer part of the national touring drag show, Melanie Troxel made it to the top. She has been there and has racked up a credible resume. Her main piece of advice to those wanting to make it in racing: “Remember people are always watching your driving and your actions off the track. What you do today could earn or lose the respect of a future crew chief or owner.”