Melanie – 2006
When Dad’s a veteran world champion drag racer and Mom’s an airplane/car mechanic, their daughter grows up knowing how to rebuild an engine … dazzle a TV audience … go from zero to 3 Gs in less than a second … and take on the world of drag racing! Meet Melanie Troxel, who entered her first car race at age 16 at Bandimere Speedway and hasn’t stopped racing since then.
Melanie hails from Littleton, but her home is really the track – as in speeding on a track at a sizzling-best quarter-mile elapsed time of 4.458 seconds in 2006. Officially recognized as the quickest and fastest woman in her sport, the stunning 1990 Bear Creek High School grad is a favorite of millions of fans for successfully competing on an equal footing with men.
In February of 2006, Melanie won the National Hot Rod Assoc-iations winter championship and became the 6th woman ever to win a Top Fuel Event. She then became the only drag racer, male or female, to open a regular 23-event season with five consecutive final-round appearances and followed with a debut in the winners’ circle at the Hot Rod Nationals in April.
After clocking a career-best speed of 331.04 mph in May, Melanie received ESPY nominations for “Best Female Athlete” and “Best Driver” in June. Even the Driver of the Year Foundation which never in its 40-year history had honored a woman, selected her over three frontrunning male NASCAR drivers for its DYF first-quarter award. And the accolades kept coming!
In the second half of the season, the Coloradan received a USAC Spirit Award and was elected the Women’s Sports Foundation’s individual Sportswoman of the Year by internet vote of sports enthusiasts nationwide. Finishing 2006 ranked 4th overall in the NHRA Top Fuel Division, the phenom set a goal of becoming the first female since 1982 to win a Top Fuel championship.
Married to Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr., Melanie now lives outside Indianapolis where she owns a specialty automotive tool shop and enjoys the area’s superior training opportunities.