Brainerd: Gary Scelzi Saturday notes

SCELZI SNAGS NO. 15 IN BRAINERD QUALIFYING BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 9, 2008) - It may sound odd to rave about a No. 15 qualifying position in the highly competitive Funny Car class of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, but Gary Scelzi did just...

SCELZI SNAGS NO. 15 IN BRAINERD QUALIFYING

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 9, 2008) - It may sound odd to rave about a No. 15 qualifying position in the highly competitive Funny Car class of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, but Gary Scelzi did just that following his final qualifying attempt at the 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway today.

Without the tuning expertise of his crew chief Todd Okuhara this weekend, as he recuperated from a viral inner-ear infection, and with the help of Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge tuner Phil Shuler and on the advice of U.S. Army dragster tuner Alan Johnson, Scelzi rocketed the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T to a 4.291-second lap at 286.86 mph in the Northern Minnesota heat to earn that spot.

While that run did not improve his position, it was straight, strong and fast under the warm conditions (not to mention his quickest of the weekend), boding well for Sunday's eliminations rounds.

His other passes included a 5.364/136.81 (No. 15), 4.370/246.89 (No. 12), and a 4.470/220.73 (No. 14).

"I'm pretty excited," said the four-time NHRA champion. "It's just a lot of little things that we moved around, and that was the first run we made without smoking the tires.

"I know a 4.29 doesn't sound like much, but, believe me, there's a lot of promise there. I hope Todd's feeling better. I can't wait for him to come back, but right now Alan and Phil are doing a great job. We're excited; we're going into a new area and I like where we're headed."

Scelzi faces John Force in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday. He has a round-winning 12-11 record over the 14-time champion. The last time they met in Brainerd was in the semifinals in 2004, which Scelzi won.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi