Baytown: Gary Scelzi final report

SCELZI FALLS TO NO. 1 QUALIFIER C. PEDREGON IN HOUSTON FIRST ROUND BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30, 2008) - Four-time NHRA world champion Gary Scelzi faced a tough match-up in today's opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Spring Nationals. As the...

SCELZI FALLS TO NO. 1 QUALIFIER C. PEDREGON IN HOUSTON FIRST ROUND

BAYTOWN, Texas (March 30, 2008) - Four-time NHRA world champion Gary Scelzi faced a tough match-up in today's opening round of eliminations at the NHRA Spring Nationals. As the No. 16 qualifier in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T he was forced to meet up with the No. 1 qualifier Cruz Pedregon.

In a brand-new Brad Hadman chassis under the Mopar/Oakley Dodge body, Scelzi drove up to the starting lights with confidence and bluster, but expectations fell short as he lost traction at the hit of the throttle, slowing him to a 13.823-second run at 72.29 mph, while Pedregon pulled out a 4.937/304.74 pass to win the round.

On top of the Mopar/Oakley team's struggles to qualify, track conditions this weekend were questionable. "All I can say is I can't wait to get the hell out of Houston," said Scelzi, the 2005 Funny Car champion. "This has been a miserable three days. I've never seen track conditions like this. But that's not an excuse, because obviously there have been cars better than ours. But I've never seen so much tire smoke in my life. Then there's the bumps, and the right lane is absolutely horrible. But we just could not get a handle on anything.

"We only made it down the track one out of four times anyway, so it's not an excuse for us. We should have gone down the track, but there's not a whole lot of race track to get anything done when you see a load of 4.90s. When a 5.05 (-second elapsed time) gets in the show it's pretty pitiful, and I was that 5.05." Scelzi squeaked into the 16-car field with an average 5.052-second run. "This has been the most confusing race track I've been to in a long time," he said.

"We'll take this Hadman, we'll roll 'er into Vegas and see if it acts like a normal race car. But we've got a brand-new Murf McKinney car too. All the cars were acting goofy here, so it's not the chassis. Thank God for that. We've got a test scheduled in Vegas on Monday after the race there and we'll run the wheels off of both cars. And hopefully we can do well in Vegas and it will be a fun test on Monday."

Scelzi is currently 12th in the Funny Car point standings.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi