Englishtown: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI IS RED HOT GOING INTO ENGLISHTOWN ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, crew chief Mike Neff and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car team are sizzling hot right now in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Scelzi is...

SCELZI IS RED HOT GOING INTO ENGLISHTOWN

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, crew chief Mike Neff and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car team are sizzling hot right now in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Scelzi is second in Funny Car rankings, a mere 64 points behind leader John Force following his second victory of the season last weekend in Joliet, Ill. This weekend's K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., is a crucial stop on the tour if Scelzi is to close in on his first Funny Car championship to go with his three Top Fuel titles.

It's the second event of a three-race swing and it's just one of three national NHRA venues at which he's never won in his Top Fuel and Funny Car careers. The other two are Denver, Colo., and Gainesville, Fla.

Scelzi's best results here are a runner-up finish in Top Fuel in 2000, and two No. 1 qualifiers in Top Fuel, in 1998 and 1999.

"This race is very important," said the Fresno, Calif., native. "I just have in my mind that we need to sweep this three-race swing. But I feel that way every event we go to. I feel that every event we go to we can win.

"Englishtown is a lot like the Winternationals, or the Gatornationals, or even the U.S. Nationals. It's an old race, it has a lot of tradition. I've only been to the final round there once and I want to keep this roll that we're on right now and hopefully we can pick up five points, 50 points, 60 points, 100 points on Force. That's our goal right now and I've never been more determined in my life and I don't think Mike Neff has, or this whole Mopar team.

"My confidence level is extremely high, because we've had, I feel, the car to beat all year long.

"I'm ready to go. I'm excited and I'm ready."

GARY SCELZI QUICK FACTS:

* At the 2004 K&N SuperNationals, he qualified sixth, lost semis to John Force

* Second in 2005 Funny Car points after 10 races; has two wins (Bristol and Chicago); was low qualifier twice (Las Vegas and Atlanta)

* Has never won Funny Car or Top Fuel at Old Bridge Township Raceway, was runner-up once, in Top Fuel in 2000; No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel in 1998 and 1999

* Is first Funny Car driver to break the 330-mph barrier (330.15 mph at Route 66 Raceway in 2004)

* Career Funny Car bests: 4.717-second ET (Pomona '05), 331.53 mph (Pomona '05)

* Third in 2004 Funny Car points, with three wins in six final rounds

* Qualified in top five nine times in 2004, No. 1 once

* Age 44, born and raised in Fresno, Calif., where he lives with wife Julianne and sons Dominic and Giovanni

* Runs Scelzi Enterprises, a custom truck body design and manufacturing business in Fresno with his two brothers

* Is a three-time Top Fuel Dragster champion

* Won his first Top Fuel crown as a rookie

* Has five Funny Car wins, 25 Top Fuel wins

* Sixth in 2003 Funny Car points, his first full season in that class

* 2005 is his third straight season racing for Don Schumacher Racing

* Is the only NHRA driver to have won in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car. He accomplished this feat at Infineon Raceway in 2003

* Is one of the few Funny Car drivers who has a winning record against the 13-time Funny Car champion John Force: 9-8, 3-1 in final rounds.

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher , Mike Neff