SCELZI FINISHES BRISTOL IN QUARTERFINALS BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion and No. 9 qualifier Gary Scelzi took out Tony Pedregon in the opening stanza of Funny Car eliminations at the O'Reilly...
SCELZI FINISHES BRISTOL IN QUARTERFINALS
BRISTOL, Tenn. (July 8, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion and No. 9 qualifier Gary Scelzi took out Tony Pedregon in the opening stanza of Funny Car eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals today, then fell to No. 1 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in the second round.
Piloting the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T, Scelzi dismissed Pedregon with a winning 4.942-second pass at 309.98 mph to Pedregon's 5.215/289.76, then experienced tire smoke in the quarterfinals, which slowed him to a 8.154/108.11 pass to Wilkerson's victorious 5.037/295.27. Neither run was perfect in the 90-plus-degree heat and track temperatures rising over 133 degrees, but Wilkerson claimed the win by a margin of 3.0886 seconds.
"The track got hotter," Scelzi explained. "We got rushed to go up there for second round and they didn't scrape the track and we assumed that they would. I don't know why we assumed it, but we did. And I was getting in the car back in the pits when we found out that all they were going to do was drag it. We were screwed. We didn't have any time to pull any nuts off or make any changes. So, we went out there and smoked the tires.
"I think it caught a lot of us off guard. There were a lot of people smoking the tires. It was just one of those things, nobody's fault. We were the last car to run first round, so we had only an hour and five or six minutes before we had to get up there. We were rushed, and Zippy (crew chief Mike Neff) didn't have time to go up there and look at the track. It was just one of those deals and we got caught with our pants down. It's unfortunate.
"We'll just head to Denver for the Mopar race and do our best in the altitude and heat there."
Scelzi holds on to fifth in the point standings, tied with Jim Head.