Gainesville: Gary Scelzi preview

Scelzi aims to add Gators to his win list FRESNO, Calif. (March 13, 2007) - There are only two NHRA tracks at which four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car) Gary Scelzi has never won, and ...

Scelzi aims to add Gators to his win list

FRESNO, Calif. (March 13, 2007) - There are only two NHRA tracks at which four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car) Gary Scelzi has never won, and Gainesville Raceway is one of them.

This weekend's ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals marks the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver's 215th career pro start. He's won 34 of those in his short career, which began in 1997, but none came at Gainesville or Englishtown, N.J.

With a car this season he considers the best he's ever driven, a stout record of strong, straight passes in the first two races, plus a season-opening victory, Scelzi is aiming to change that statistic this weekend.

"Except for the mishap in Phoenix (first-round loss due to loss of traction), we went right back out Monday morning (to test) and ran a 4.73 (-second elapsed time) at 328 mph under the same conditions. We know what happened on Sunday, we fixed it, and went right back out and repeated just like (crew chief) Mike Neff thought it would. I am thrilled to go to Gainesville.

"Everybody knows that this is one that I haven't won before. I've been to the final in Funny Car and I've been to the final in Top Fuel, and never have won this race. It's got a lot of meaning. It's a lot like winning Pomona. It has a lot of heritage. Kenny Bernstein ran the first 300-mph run there, and people come from everywhere to Gainesville. People from Atlanta who don't go to the Atlanta race go to Gainesville, because of all the history behind it.

"It's one of those races that I'm rally excited about. I've been excited this whole season. When you're excited about the season, it's great to go to a race you've never won, because you just feel good going in.

"I looked at the entry list and there are 23 cars entered. This is not going to be an easy show to get into and, once you get into it, it's going to be a war. We like when we go to war.

"I haven't been this excited for a long time."

Scelzi's Gainesville record includes low qualifier in 1998, 2000 and 2001 (all in Top Fuel), a 2001 runner-up finish in Top Fuel, and a Funny Car runner-up finish in 2002.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Gary Scelzi , Mike Neff