Baytown: Gary Scelzi final summary

Scelzi Goes to Second Round, Gets Bumped by Worsham HOUSTON, Texas (April 18, 2004) - Gary Scelzi's HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus team was rewarded today in the first round of eliminations of the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals after...

Scelzi Goes to Second Round, Gets Bumped by Worsham

HOUSTON, Texas (April 18, 2004) - Gary Scelzi's HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus team was rewarded today in the first round of eliminations of the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals after qualifying No. 14, with a win against Jeff Arend. Still struggling with the Funny Car's setup, Scelzi, forced to pedal after losing traction, pulled out the win with a 5.037/309.56 against Arend's tire-smoking 9.057/100.28.

Scelzi came up to the line for the second round to face NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Del Worsham who had dismissed Scelzi's teammate Whit Bazemore in the first round. Nearly identical reaction times from the pair promised a close race to the finish. Worsham had a slight edge down the entire quarter-mile, however, taking the win light with a 4.941/296.50 versus Scelzi's 5.010/300.40.

Despite the loss, Scelzi was encouraged by the car's performance. "I think that the change that we made, the major change, has started to show promise," he said. "The HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge basically has four runs on it. In the last run it went down the track with very little shake. It's still below the target of where we need to be, but it's showing what's it's supposed to show. And I think that's going to be the answer, the problem solver.

"We don't have enough runs with this new combination on this clutch. It never really locked up until the finish line. If it had done what we anticipated it doing, it would have been a little better race than it was. We're not upset; we didn't smoke the tires. We raced them, we went down the race track - one of the few that actually did.

"We're going to stay tomorrow and test and we'll find out what happens in Bristol (the next event, the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway April 30-May 2)."

A major reshuffling of the Funny Car point standing occurred today, placing Scelzi in the No. 9 position, with 270.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Jeff Arend