Englishtown: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI AIMS TO ADD E'TOWN TO LIST OF HIS WINNING TRACKS ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14, 2006) - It's hard to believe that four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion Gary Scelzi still has not won at three venues on the NHRA Funny Car...

SCELZI AIMS TO ADD E'TOWN TO LIST OF HIS WINNING TRACKS

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 14, 2006) - It's hard to believe that four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion Gary Scelzi still has not won at three venues on the NHRA Funny Car circuit. Bandimere Speedway in Denver and Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway are two of them; Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., is the other.

This weekend's K&N Filters SuperNationals in Englishtown marks the reigning Funny Car champion's 200th career NHRA national event, and the Fresno, Calif., native would like to conquer this track and earn his 33rd career event win in the process.

The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is ready to continue, and improve on, the performance he and his team have demonstrated in the last few races after struggling earlier in the season. Scelzi set his 23rd top speed in Chicago last weekend (332.10 mph) en route to the semifinals. He jumped back up to eighth in the Funny Car points rankings and is just 89 points out of fifth place.

"Englishtown is an old race. It's one that I haven't won, and with the Mopar/Oakley Dodge performing the way it is I'm hoping that this will be the one," said Scelzi.

The popular Don Schumacher Racing driver is always first to credit his young crew chief, Mike Neff, for his success. "I'd never won Vegas before and 'Zippy' (Neff) got me Vegas (in 2004). I'd never won Sonoma before and 'Zippy' got me Sonoma (in 2003). 'Zippy' has got to get me Englishtown. That's what we're hoping for," said Scelzi.

One Top Fuel runner-up finish in 2000 and two Top Fuel No. 1 qualifiers, in 1998 and 1999, are the extent of the three-time Top-Fuel champion's results here in E'town.

GARY SCELZI QUICK FACTS:

Eighth in 2006 Funny Car points after 10 events

So far, in 2006, his best results are two semifinal finishes in Bristol, Tenn., and Joliet, Ill. Also has four quarterfinal finishes

Claimed the 2005 Funny Car championship, his first, by eight points over his teammate Ron Capps, 32 over third-place John Force

Won three times in 2005 (Bristol, Chicago 1 and Sonoma); was low qualifier six times (Las Vegas 1, Atlanta, St. Louis, Reading, Las Vegas 2, Pomona 2)

Is a three-time Top Fuel champion

Became only the second NHRA driver to have won crowns in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Kenny Bernstein is the first

Has never won in Englishtown

Was runner-up in TF here in 2000, and was TF No. 1 qualifier in 1998 and 1999

At 2005 SuperNationals he qualified No. 3, lost second round to Tommy Johnson Jr.

Has set 23 Funny Car top speeds since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2003

Is a member of the largest team in NHRA pro history: Don Schumacher Racing, with nine teams - two in Top Fuel, three in Funny Car, two in Pro Stock, two in Pro Stock Motorcycle (all four pro categories)

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

Career Funny Car bests: 4.696-second ET (Pomona 2 '05), 332.51 mph (Pomona 1 '06)

Qualified in top five 19 times in 2005, No. 1 six times

Age 45, born and raised in Fresno, Calif., where he lives with wife Julianne and sons Dominic and Giovanni

Dominic, 9, races Junior Sprints

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

Won his first Top Fuel crown as a rookie

Has seven Funny Car wins, 25 Top Fuel wins

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

2006 is his fourth 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 round winning record against the 13-time Funny Car champion John Force: 9-8, 3-1 in final rounds

SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16. Qualifying continues at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 17 and final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 18.

ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying of the K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals at 5 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, June 17. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of final eliminations coverage beginning at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 18.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher , Mike Neff