SCELZI OUT IN OPENING ROUND ON A SAD DAY IN E-TOWN ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 22, 2008) - It was a difficult day for everyone on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit following Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta's death in a violent crash during...
SCELZI OUT IN OPENING ROUND ON A SAD DAY IN E-TOWN
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 22, 2008) - It was a difficult day for everyone on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit following Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta's death in a violent crash during Saturday's final qualifying session.
For Gary Scelzi, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, as for every other competitor on the NHRA tour, it was also time to get back to business. Scelzi faced Del Worsham in the opening round of eliminations on a day that dawned hot with a threat of rain (a short rain delay followed Funny Car eliminations). Scelzi staged shallow and took off with a .105 reaction time to Worsham's .083 (.000 is perfect). It was neck-to-neck as the pair charged down the quarter-mile, but it was Worsham first at the finish stripe by the slimmest margin of four feet, posting a winning 4.946-second pass at 313.95 mph to Scelzi's quicker but losing 4.933/309.34.
"It was not a good day because of our loss," said Scelzi, "but, you know what, it wasn't a bad day on the race track. I had a .105 light, which is a good light for staging thin. And I staged thin. Del's car was quicker, he was better on the light, and we lost.
"What can I say? It was nine thousandths of a second," said Scelzi who still has not won in Englishtown, N.J., in his 12 years as a pro driver and 37 national-event victories. "It's not the first time and it won't be the last time, but I'm not really upset because that's normally about as good as I can get when I roll in thin. If I'd rolled it in, I could have phonied the numbers up and I'd have looked like a star and the car would have looked like it ran slower. We didn't, and we didn't win. And Englishtown gets away with another one. We're on our way to Norwalk."
Scelzi lost a friend on Saturday. "It's just a shame. I say a prayer every time I get in the car (for those I have lost in my life) and I have way too many names on that list, and I had to add Scott Kalitta today. I wish I didn't," said Scelzi. "My heart goes out to Connie (Kalitta, his dad), his wife and his sons and the whole Kalitta bunch because I'm very close with those people. Ken Black flies me around and he's part of that team and we're with the Kalitta folks a lot.
"It hurts most for his kids and his family, especially when you have kids of your own. I knew him very well, and I guarantee he wouldn't want long faces. I guarantee you that.
"'Scotty Potty,' I wish you the best."
Scelzi remains No. 12 in the Funny Car point standings, with 430 markers, just nine points out of the top 10.