Englishtown: Gary Scelzi preview

E-TOWN ON SCELZI'S HIT LIST FRESNO, Calif. (June 18, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi has a hit list of NHRA tracks at which he's never won since he began his professional drag-racing career in 1997. Before...

E-TOWN ON SCELZI'S HIT LIST

FRESNO, Calif. (June 18, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi has a hit list of NHRA tracks at which he's never won since he began his professional drag-racing career in 1997. Before the NHRA added the Norwalk, Ohio, and the upcoming inaugural Charlotte, N.C., events, Scelzi only had two tracks to conquer: Gainesville Raceway in Florida, and Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. This season he has four to hopefully add to his collection of 37 career victories in 58 final rounds.

He missed a win at Gainesville earlier this year and the next in his sights is Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, where he'll compete in the NHRA SuperNationals this weekend driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing.

His Englishtown record includes a 2000 Top Fuel runner-up, a 2006 Funny Car runner-up and two Top Fuel No. 1 qualifiers, in 1998 and 1999.

"I've been in the final there in Top Fuel and Funny Car and that's one on my hit list to get done," said Scelzi, a Fresno, Calif., native. "And I think now is a good a time as any.

"It seems like the Mopar/Oakley Dodge has turned the corner," he said of the team's struggles this season to adapt to a new car and rules. "We qualified in the top half of the field for the fourth time this year last week in Chicago and we're just eight points out of the top 10 for the Countdown to the Championship (which begins for the top 10 following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend).

"More than likely Englishtown is going to be hot and humid. And we seem to have a really good tune-up for that. If Friday night cools down and we have a good Friday night session I think we can run with all the top guys. And, even if it's hot and humid, we can run with them and race with them on Sunday.

"I like my chances going into Englishtown. I don't know if I'll be any more motivated than I've been all year long. It's definitely one that I want. I'm going to try to not let this one slip through my fingers."

Scelzi still holds the national top-speed record at Raceway Park, a 322.42 mph run he set in 2003. "I don't think my speed record is in jeopardy with the conditions that we're going to probably have," he said, "because we're there later in the year now. You know, track records are great and world records are great, but I want wins. That's all I'm concerned about.

"We're really close to busting into the top 10 and that's another goal of ours, to go further than the rest of these guys and get ourselves in the top 10, get in there solid and start moving up. Now is crunch time. We need to make things happen."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher