Dallas: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

IN A NAIL-BITER, SCELZI QUALIFIES NO. 10 IN TEXAS ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - Following the first two rounds of Funny Car qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary...

IN A NAIL-BITER, SCELZI QUALIFIES NO. 10 IN TEXAS

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 23, 2006) - Following the first two rounds of Funny Car qualifying for the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals, reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi found himself on the outside looking in, not qualified for the 16-car field with a 9.819-second pass at 85.81 mph and a 7.856/102.70.

In today's third attempt, driving the special-edition Valspar House of Kolor body on his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T, Scelzi squeaked into the field in No. 14 with a 4.987/272.72, but following a rain delay which cooled down the track conditions, he was back on the sidelines again after two pairs of cars had run as he staged for the final round of qualifying.

On a conservative pass and with a loud sigh of relief heard from his crew, Scelzi made it into the field in No. 10, posting a 4.856-second elapsed time at 321.04 mph.

"It wasn't a nail-biter until we pulled it up in the water an they said that we weren't in the show," said Scelzi. "Then it was a nail-biter.

"The first round today it ran a lot better than we thought because it cleaned the teeth off the blower belt and it actually quit at about 1100 feet, so it should have run about a 4.92, which would have gotten us in where we needed to be.

"But if we had been in the show before the last qualifying run we were going to stand on it and try to run a mid-.70 like we tried last night. And I think the track would have held it today, but we couldn't take the chance. We couldn't take the chance of shaking the tire, or smoking the tire, so we just went at it and ran the simple. 85. It ran 320 mph, it didn't hurt anything, the 60-ft. increments are getting better, reaction times are getting better, so now we can do our jobs tomorrow.

"Zippy (crew chief Mike Neff) made me a promise. I'm not going to tell you what it is unless we win."

Scelzi faces Scott Kalitta in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Scott Kalitta , Mike Neff