Englishtown: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

SCELZI'S QUICK PASS DISALLOWED, SQUEAKS INTO E-TOWN FIELD IN NO. 15 ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 23, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi fell victim to a glitch in the NHRA timing system during Friday night ...

SCELZI'S QUICK PASS DISALLOWED, SQUEAKS INTO E-TOWN FIELD IN NO. 15

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 23, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi fell victim to a glitch in the NHRA timing system during Friday night qualifying, which led to his strongest pass of the weekend, a 4.784-second lap at 333.49 mph, being nixed by NHRA officials.

After Gary Densham in the opposing lane was disqualified when he crossed the centerline, hit the cones, and sent them flying into Scelzi's lane, triggering, according to NHRA officials, Scelzi's timing light prematurely, Scelzi's pass was disallowed. The two were near dead even at the finish line when the incident occurred, but without a backup system to check the accuracy of Scelzi's pass, Scelzi was relegated out of the field.

Scelzi's first-lap pass of 5.142/231.12 did not hold up to keep him in the top 16, and he was left with only two Saturday sessions, in the heat of the day, to get him in.

His first attempt produced a non-qualifying 5.041/284.21. Then, in his final try he powered the Mopar/Oakley Dodge straight down the quarter-mile to post a 4.925/309.13, good enough for No. 15, which he held through the completion of qualifying.

"We felt like we did our job Friday night and we would have been in the top eight, and that's what we try to do," said Scelzi, winner of the last national event in Joliet, Ill. "Unfortunately, Densham had a car-body problem and took out the lights. He felt horrible about it, and I said to him, 'Gary, It's not your fault.'

"It's just that we need to come up with a different way (to resolve these issues). Our sport is based on timing, so you would think we'd have the latest state-of-the-art stuff. I know it happened to me, but I have felt this way for a long time. Whatever. It's done.

"We're racing tomorrow. We're excited. We've got my old nemesis John Force in the first round. We're going to go up there and drive the hell out of this thing and hopefully knock him off."

As for the timing issue, "There's nothing we can do about it now. We can cry and bitch and moan all we want, but it's not going to fix the problem."

Scelzi holds the edge over Force, with a 12-8 round-win record. He also leads in final rounds: 3-1.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham