SCELZI FAILS TO QUALIFY AT GATORNATIONALS GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi failed to qualify for the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway today, after Friday's two rounds...
SCELZI FAILS TO QUALIFY AT GATORNATIONALS
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 15, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi failed to qualify for the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway today, after Friday's two rounds of qualifying were washed out due to rain.
Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charge R/T Funny Car suffered a mechanical problem in the final of only two laps available to qualify. He had posted a tire-smoking 7.936-second lap at 108.77 mph in the first session, which placed him outside of the field. With one last chance to make it in, Scelzi looked like he was on a strong run, but the 5.014/307.37 run that popped up on the scoreboard was clearly not stout enough to earn him a spot in the top 16.
"We had a mechanical problem," said Scelzi, who has never won the Gatornationals in his 37 career national-event victories. "There's a switch on the bottom of the throttle that goes into retard mode. If I have to pedal it, it knocks a bunch more timing out of it and it starts everything over slower, and even though I never closed the throttle, that switch activated itself, which retarded the timing. It made it like I pedaled it. So it didn't have all the timing. It pulled everything back. It was on top of our 4.87-second run in Phoenix (the last race three weeks ago), and that's about what we were trying to run.
"We got bit. It has nothing to do with having only two qualifying runs. You need to be good enough to do that. You need to be able to pull it out. This team is good enough to do it, but unfortunately a mechanical thing just got us. It happens. It's going to happen to everybody this year. I have a feeling this year is going to be a lot like last year." In 2007 every Funny Car top contender failed to qualify at least once during the season.
"This is one that got away from me this year."