Scelzi is Low in Final Qualifying ...
Scelzi is Low in Final Qualifying IRound, Grabs No. 3 Spot
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 25, 2004) - Gary Scelzi, crew chief Mike Neff and the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car team put it all together for the final round of qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Nationals at Texas Motorplex today and posted the quickest and fastest pass of the round and moved into third in the 16-car field.
Scelzi's 4.830-second pass at 321.42 mph bested No. 1 qualifier John Force's 4.837/321.27 lap in that round, giving notice that under similar conditions in Sunday's eliminations, Scelzi just could be the man to beat. With Scelzi looking to make ground on his 206-point deficit to Force in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class, it's a position the team is happy to be in.
"Aside from the first run yesterday (5.847/163.69), the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge has done everything Mike's wanted it to do. And we're still trying to refine some things in the clutch to not make it smoke the tire. We missed it a little bit on the first run today (4.865/308.07) and it didn't run exactly how we wanted it to and it dropped a cylinder, but it still ran an .85.
"This afternoon we tried to run a low .80 and -poof! - here comes an .83 at 321 mph. It's acting like it's supposed to do.
"I think we're in great shape. The race track was actually really tight so it may have taken a little bit more. You don't want to go for the throat. You want to know what you can race with and that's what we've been doing. So we ran an .83, so it's all been in the .80s. Everything is ready to roll and we'll just go see what happens tomorrow."
Scelzi will face Jerry Toliver in first round of eliminations, which begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday.