SCELZI OUT IN GAINESVILLE FIRST ROUND, NEW CHARGER PERFORMS GAINESVILLE, Ga. (March 19, 2006) - Gary Scelzi didn't achieve his goal today of conquering one of the three NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series dragstrips at which he's never won in his...
SCELZI OUT IN GAINESVILLE FIRST ROUND, NEW CHARGER PERFORMS
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (March 19, 2006) - Gary Scelzi didn't achieve his goal today of conquering one of the three NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series dragstrips at which he's never won in his career as a four-time NHRA world champion. His first-round loss against Del Worsham at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway didn't allow Scelzi to check this one off.
It was a strong showing for the new Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger Funny Car nonetheless, as No. 8 qualifier Scelzi produced a stout opening pass of 4.842 seconds at 322.46 mph, but lost on a holeshot advantage to No. 9 qualifier Worsham's slower 4.858/323.15. Reaction times: .094 for Scelzi, .051 for Worsham.
"It's no different than last year," said Scelzi, of the tight competition in the Funny Car class. "And Del is one of the toughest guys out there, ask my teammates Ron Capps and Whit Bazemore.
"We're not afraid of anybody. We've been struggling. The Mopar/Oakley Charger went 4.84, and I was a little bit late. .094 (reaction time) is not that bad, I didn't roll it in deep. I was hoping if we could get by Del it would help with lane choice against (John) Force, who went 4.77 (in the opening round). It just didn't happen.
"We're learning what we're doing wrong with the clutch, we're learning about the new tire. And an old veteran is learning about the starting line, I guess. It's unfortunate, but we're going to run here tomorrow and try some things that we learned over qualifying that we haven't had a chance to learn because we've never had the sun on the race track (during previous tests).
"And even though there was a little bit of cloud cover today, the conditions were different. We have a plan. We'll see what happens and we'll roll 'er off to Houston."
On the new Charger body: "The body is excellent, it's good, and it's going to be better the more we learn about it. It's not like the Stratus was a dog, no doubt about that, but this Charger is going to be just fine."
Scelzi set his 21st top speed this weekend (325.61 mph), and is tied in ninth place in Funny Car points, with 121.
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, March 31-April 2, 2006.