Denver: Gary Scelzi final report

SCELZI GOES TO QUARTERS AT MOPAR MILE-HIGHS MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi advanced to the quarterfinal round today in Funny Car eliminations at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at...

SCELZI GOES TO QUARTERS AT MOPAR MILE-HIGHS

MORRISON, Colo. (July 13, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi advanced to the quarterfinal round today in Funny Car eliminations at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, racing to the 1000-ft. mark for the first time in NHRA pro nitro history.

Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, No. 16 qualifier Scelzi first dismissed No. 1 qualifier Tony Pedregon, using a solid 4.333-second pass at 286.62 mph to do so, then fell to Robert Hight in the second round. Scelzi scorched the timing lights with a stellar .055 reaction time to Hight's .104 (.000 is perfect) but couldn't carry the lead to the finish stripe, losing by 12 feet with a 4.459/260.06 to Hight's winning 4.378/267.06.

"Well, I was hoping we could have made a bigger move in the points today," said Scelzi, who fell to No. 13, but is now just 39 markers out of the top 10. "But we learned a lot of things over last night to today. We found some power and we're making the clutch do some different things.

"I know I keep saying I feel really good about it, but I really feel good about what's going on. I think the race track got us a little bit today because it was way out there when it spun the tires, but the clutch is wearing the way it's supposed to, and we've got enough motor in the car where everything is acting right.

"We were close before, but we're a lot closer now. We're just figuring out that we're not running the Mopar/Oakley Dodge hard enough.

"I'm looking forward to going to Seattle. I really do believe we are over the hump and I think Todd Okuhara (crew chief) is going to get a handle on this thing. The last two runs we were a little bit aggressive with the track temperature where it was at (approximately 120 degrees), but I think we can fix that.

"We picked up 20 points on some of the guys who were ahead of us. We've got to get busy," added Scelzi. "We want to be in the top 10 by the time we leave Infineon (Sonoma, Calif., in two weeks), and I think we can do it."

Scelzi continues to support racing to the 1000-ft. finish line. "No problem. I drove past it," said Scelzi. "I'm not sure where I was at. I think I was at least a hundred feet past it, but I'm not going to shut it down early again, I promise you that," he said of his miscue during qualifying."

As for running the new Goodyear tires: "This was the first time on the new Goodyear tires, and I don't think they've ever built a tire as good as the one we have now," he said. "We're spinning the tire to the finish line, and there's not any shredding or chunking. They're round, they're balanced, they're fabulous. Kudos to Goodyear. They've done a great job and they need to be commended on it."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher