Commerce: Gary Scelzi preview

FAMILY MAN SCELZI PUMPED FOR ATLANTA AFTER SON'S SUCCESS FRESNO, Calif. (April 24, 2007) - Proud father Gary Scelzi is pumped. His 9-year-old son Dominic, who moved into the Restricted 600 Mini Sprint class after a couple of seasons in Junior ...

FAMILY MAN SCELZI PUMPED FOR ATLANTA AFTER SON'S SUCCESS

FRESNO, Calif. (April 24, 2007) - Proud father Gary Scelzi is pumped. His 9-year-old son Dominic, who moved into the Restricted 600 Mini Sprint class after a couple of seasons in Junior Sprints, had a successful weekend back home in California, and four-time NHRA champion Scelzi hopes that some of that will rub off on him and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway this weekend.

Scelzi recently announced that he would step away from NHRA competition at the end of 2007 season to spend more time with family and business, and he's already being true to his promise, with 18 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events left to this season.

"My family is coming with me to Atlanta," he said proudly. "We're coming off a great weekend with Dominic (who turns 10 on May 2) in Visalia, Calif. He qualified third out of 21 cars and ran second in his heat race and fourth in the main, and in the first race where he didn't have to start in the back as a rookie. So, we're extremely happy with that.

"And we met with (CRA Non-Wing world champion) Cory Kruseman yesterday to talk about doing some dirt races in my Mopar/K&N/Oakley Dirt Midget," added Scelzi, who also fields an Asphalt Midget for 17-year-old driver Michael Faccinto. "Michael will run all the pavement races and Cory, Michael and I will share duties on the dirt car. So, we have a lot of good things happening at Gary Scelzi Motorsports and now we just hope we get to Atlanta and the good things continue."

Ending 2007 with a second Funny Car championship is the Fresno native's goal, from which he's never strayed. "I'm very motivated anyway," said Scelzi, winner of the season-opener in Pomona, "and this year I've been motivated with the success we had early. And even though we've stumbled at the last few races I still feel really good. The Mopar/Oakley Dodge is qualifying in the top half of the field, and I think we're a win looking for a place to happen, and hopefully Atlanta is the place to make it happen."

Fifth in the Funny Car points rankings after five races, Scelzi is not yet concerned about the Countdown to the Championship, which will be pared down to the top eight drivers 12 races from now. "It's too early," he offered. "As long as we're in the top five or so, then I'm OK with it. I won't be too concerned about it until later on. There will be plenty of time to worry about the Countdown to the Championship."

Scelzi has two victories at Atlanta Dragway, both in the Top Fuel class (1999 and 2000), and has not won Funny Car at this historic track. He was runner-up in FC in 2004 and No. 1 qualifier in 1997 (TF) and 2005 (FC). Last year he qualified fifth and lost the second round to Eric Medlen.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Cory Kruseman , Eric Medlen