Baytown: Gary Scelzi preview

TWO-TIME TOP FUEL HOUSTON WINNER SCELZI TARGETS FIRST FUNNY CAR WIN FRESNO, Calif. (March 27, 2007) - Gary Scelzi has a solid record at Houston Raceway Park throughout his three Top Fuel championships - two pole positions, two victories, one ...

TWO-TIME TOP FUEL HOUSTON WINNER SCELZI TARGETS FIRST FUNNY CAR WIN

FRESNO, Calif. (March 27, 2007) - Gary Scelzi has a solid record at Houston Raceway Park throughout his three Top Fuel championships - two pole positions, two victories, one runner-up and the Top Fuel elapsed-time track record of 4.480 seconds, set in October 1999, which he still holds.

What he doesn't have on his Houston scorecard is a win in Funny Car, the class he joined full-time in 2003, and in which he won his first Funny Car crown in 2005.

The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car figures his Top Fuel elapsed-time record will be surpassed at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals, so he'd like to leave a new mark at this track by adding to his nine career Funny Car victories, including one so far this season at Pomona.

"Houston has just been completely repaved, from what I understand," he said, "and there were some bumps in the right-hand lane that were starting to get pretty drastic.

"I do have one special memory from Houston. When I won my first Top Fuel championship, we pretty much sealed the deal there in Houston in the final round, when we won in 1997, so that's something about Houston I'll never forget.

"Other than that, racing in Houston has been pretty anticlimactic. In Funny Car, I don't think I've gone past first round or second round there (and DNQ'd in 2006). So, we're going to try to change that. We had a little miscue in Gainesville (first-round loss) and that kind of happens every now and then. You can't control that.

"There's no question about how good the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger is now. We haven't qualified worse than third the first three races (first, third and second). I don't see that changing. We'll just have to watch and be careful when the sun comes out on the race track. That's one thing we have to pay attention to. Other than that, we'll just go see where the chips fall.

"The goal is the same as always, try to qualify in the top half, and try to win the race."

Racing without Eric Medlen will be tough on everyone this weekend. "I'm shocked and I'm numb," said Scelzi after hearing the news of Medlen's passing. "In my mind I thought he was going to make it through and be the Eric we were all used to seeing and joking with, playing with and racing against. Words don't describe what I feel right now. It just doesn't seem right. But, my heart goes out to John Force, John Medlen and Eric's family. These guys are close friends of mine, and this just devastates me."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Eric Medlen , John Medlen