SCELZI IN A WEEKEND TRIFECTA: SONOMA, VISALIA, ALTAMONT SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Fresno, Calif., native Gary Scelzi is juggling three events this weekend in Northern California: the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in ...
SCELZI IN A WEEKEND TRIFECTA: SONOMA, VISALIA, ALTAMONT
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) - Fresno, Calif., native Gary Scelzi is juggling three events this weekend in Northern California: the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma as the reigning NHRA Funny Car champion, the Junior Sprint races as a father and car owner in Visalia, and as a Ford Focus Midget car owner in Altamont.
Friday night, Scelzi's 9-year-old son Dominic, a regular on the Junior Sprint circuit and currently the points leader in that series, competed at the Plaza Park circuit in Visalia, and Saturday night USAC California Ford Focus Pavement Series points leader Michael Faccinto raced Scelzi's Ford Focus Midget at Altamont Speedway.
In a points battle among three other drivers, Dominic Scelzi qualified 10th of 14 cars and finished fourth in the main event. His dad apologized for the poor results. "Dominic had a bad night in qualifying," the senior Scelzi said. "We had a brand-new motor in it. They changed motors, he won the heat race and he had to start seventh in the main event. He ended up fourth.
"It wasn't one of his better nights, but I believe he's still leading the points. (Competitors get to throw out the results of three of their worst races of 18). I explained to him that those nights happen and he's probably going to have more of those nights than good nights, but we'll work harder to try to give him a good car because he's definitely got the driving part down.
"Dominic and two other kids are 1-2-3. They're in a big points battle right now, with seven races left to go."
Sixteen-year-old Faccinto, meanwhile, "qualified on the pole for the fourth USAC Ford Focus race in a row, started eighth in the heat race, ran second, started sixth in the main event and ran second. So, he gained one point in the points chase and he's still in the lead," said car owner Scelzi, who traveled with wife Julie from Infineon Raceway to Altamont Speedway to root for his driver Saturday night.
"We had a great night," he continued. "I was nervous as hell, just like when I'm watching my kid out there, because there were three or four yellows (in the race). He was really smart last night, and saw [the wrecks] coming before he got to them. They were right in front of him and he made moves to miss them. He did a really good job and impressed a lot of people."
So, how is the Scelzi household prepared for son Dominic's becoming the new star in the making?
"When he won the main event at Plaza Park a couple of weeks ago he did a cart wheel and climbed the fence, just like Tony Stewart does," said Scelzi. "So the crowd went crazy. It's pretty exciting to let him have his own personality and do the things he wants to. He goes, 'Dad was that OK?' I said, 'You can do anything you want to do.'
"He was talking about the next time he wins he was going to do a snow angel on the straightaway. I said, 'Dominic, you race in the dirt, you might not want to do that.
"He has no ego, not really. He just loves to race. When the other kids win he goes and congratulates them and tells them he does a good job," added the proud dad. "He's fine as long as nobody runs into him. When somebody runs into him he gets a little pissy." Like Dad? "Just like Dad."
As for Dominic's mom, Julie: "I think it's great," she said. "It's very exciting to watch. It's very competitive and I try not to cuss when I'm filming him. I don't (worry about him) in this class. I'm a little anxious when he goes to the next class and he's going to start in the restricted 600 because it's so much bigger, so much faster. They not only roll over (which Dominic has already experienced), they flip a few times. But I think he'll be another year older by the time he gets there and will probably be ready for it.
"By that time we'll have (4-year-old) Giovanni in the little Junior Sprint. It'll be exciting. It will be Giovanni we'll be worried about instead of Dominic."
Defending event champion Scelzi qualified 13th for today's Fram-Autolie NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, and faces Scott Kalitta in first round of eliminations.