Dallas: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI GOING FOR THE GOLD IN DALLAS ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi's goals at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas, remain the same as they were ...

SCELZI GOING FOR THE GOLD IN DALLAS

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi's goals at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals in Ennis, Texas, remain the same as they were for last weekend's rained-out Reading, Pa., event: to win, gain points, en route to finishing high in the rankings.

There is one added incentive at the highly-rated Texas Motorplex: to set a national record to earn 20 bonus points.

Seventh in the standings with five races remaining in the 2006 season, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger - which will be resplendent in a House of Kolor paint scheme in Texas - is just 68 points out of fifth place and 140 short of third. Up ahead, Capps and 13-time champion John Force are in a see-saw battle for the championship - a fight Scelzi is familiar with, as he, Capps and Force were in a three-way scrap for the title at the end of 2005.

The Mopar/Oakley Dodge, tuned by Mike Neff, has always been a rocket ship, having recorded 23 top speeds since Scelzi joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2003, so setting that elapsed-time national record is a realistic goal, as Scelzi aims to finish as high in the point standings as possible, knowing he is out of contention for the championship.

"The thing is, we're going to an all-concrete race track," says Scelzi, accentuating the positive. "Weather permitting, there is an outside chance that you can set a national record here, which earns you 20 bonus points.

"And, right now, we have nothing to lose. If the changes that we've made to the Mopar/Oakley Dodge can get squared away in the four runs in qualifying, there is a shot that we can set the national record for ET. And, if I know Mike Neff, I guarantee you that thought is on his mind.

"Of course, we won't be the only team trying to do that, but we have nothing to lose. We can go at this thing and run this car on the edge.

"I guess we're going to Dallas and try to run the table: qualify on the pole, set a national record and win the race."

Scelzi is a three-time winner at the Texas Motorplex: 1998, 1999, 2000 in Top Fuel, and has qualified No. 1 three times. He has not won here in Funny Car, however.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher , Mike Neff