Denver: Gary Scelzi preview

DEFENDING DENVER CHAMP SCELZI READY FOR MOPAR MILE-HIGHS FRESNO, Calif. (July 10, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi left the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in 2006 with his first victory there in either Top Fuel...

DEFENDING DENVER CHAMP SCELZI READY FOR MOPAR MILE-HIGHS

FRESNO, Calif. (July 10, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi left the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in 2006 with his first victory there in either Top Fuel or Funny Car, and before he hangs up his helmet (or not) at the end of 2007, he'd like to win another one for Mopar at this weekend's event at Bandimere Speedway.

After announcing he would take a sabbatical from NHRA drag racing at the end of this season, Scelzi has been rewarded with honors at several events this year, including this weekend, where Mopar will unveil a striking gold "tribute" paint scheme that he will carry on the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

Scelzi is also aiming to notch another championship before stepping down. He's fifth in the point standings and the top eight will compete in the final Countdown to the Championship beginning at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend.

"I have always said I didn't want a 'Farewell Tour,' so the media are calling this the 'hiatus tour,'" said Scelzi, who claims he is not retiring and may actually return to NHRA competition in the future - or not.

This annual Mopar-sponsored event has always been a highlight of his career.

"The Mopar Mile-Highs are always fun," said the man who has won 35 national events in 56 final rounds and has a stunning round win-loss record of 358-183. "There's always exciting things going on with the Big Block Party in Golden on Thursday night, and now the rubber raft race on Clear Creek that Mopar is hosting, which includes me, my teammate Ron Capps and the Mopar Pro Stock boys Richie Stevens Jr. and Allen Johnson. It's going to be a blast. I bet someone is going to get wet. That's a given.

"Bandimere is a really neat facility. It is certainly different from the other tracks we race on. It's hard to make cars run up there. We run on 90 percent nitromethane (instead of the usual 85 percent) and a whole different combination, which makes it interesting. It is really a terrific venue on top of the mountain.

"I had never won there before and last year Zippy (crew chief Mike Neff) got me a win!. Hopefully we can go back there and repeat."

He also has two No. 1 qualifiers at this event, in 2000 and 2001, in the Top Fuel class.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Gary Scelzi , Allen Johnson , Mike Neff