Baytown: Gary Scelzi preview

Houston Top Fuel E.T. record holder Scelzi aims for new records in Funny Car at O'Reilly Spring Nationals. HOUSTON (April 9, 2003) -- Gary Scelzi, driver of the Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, still holds the elapsed time track record ...

Houston Top Fuel E.T. record holder Scelzi aims for new records in Funny Car at O'Reilly Spring Nationals.

HOUSTON (April 9, 2003) -- Gary Scelzi, driver of the Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, still holds the elapsed time track record at Houston Raceway Park in the Top Fuel category, of 4.480 seconds, which he established back in 1999. But, now that he's full time with Don Schumacher Racing in the Funny Car category, he just may have to relinquish that record as he seeks to establish new ones in Funny Car.

After experiencing a huge explosion in his Oakley Dodge during qualifying at Las Vegas last weekend and DNQing for the first time this season, Scelzi is ready for better results in Houston, where the horsepower he knows his team can produce could come in handy.

"Houston is way different from Vegas," said three-time Top Fuel champion Scelzi. "But it's another fast race track. Houston is going to be about the end of our really fast race tracks where you can run some big numbers, depending on the weather. I won my first Winston championship in Top Fuel here in '97, where I pretty much sealed the deal in the final round with Larry Dixon.

"So, there's memory here, there's history here," he continued. "It is one of the race tracks that I have won at before (in 1997 and '98). The Angel Brothers and the Gays who own the track are really neat people and they spend a lot of money here. Houston has only one race a year now, and they always fill the seats.

"We have always liked this race track. It's one of those race tracks that if the weather's right you'll really fly."

How is he handling last weekend's disappointment? "It's frustrating, it's upsetting," he said. "There's no way to sugar-coat it. But, you know what, you've just go to tighten your belt another notch and suck it up."

Scelzi is ninth in the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings going into Houston and is definitely not out of the running. A good finish here could move him up the charts.

Qualifying for the Nitro classes at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals this weekend is at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11. On Saturday, April 12, Nitro classes qualify at 12:00 noon and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations on Sunday, April 13, begin at 11 a.m. All times are CT.

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Gary Scelzi