SCELZI SLIDES INTO SEDALIA FOR 10TH STRAIGHT YEAR SEDALIA. Mo. (June 10, 2008) - For the 10th straight year, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi will compete in a Celebrity Modified Race at Sedalia's State Fair...
SCELZI SLIDES INTO SEDALIA FOR 10TH STRAIGHT YEAR
SEDALIA. Mo. (June 10, 2008) - For the 10th straight year, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi will compete in a Celebrity Modified Race at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway on Wednesday, June 11, as part of the evening's World of Outlaws Sprint Car series event.
The proceeds from this 11th annual Celebrity Modified Race and the official WOO Sprint Car race on the half-mile oval will benefit the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation.
Ten celebrity drivers, including Scelzi, who drives the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing in NHRA, will fight it out in IMCA Modifieds. Scelzi will also compete in the annual golf tournament on Tuesday, June 10, with the participating drivers and guests, and will act as Master of Ceremonies for the charity auction that evening.
Drivers currently scheduled to appear also include Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Dave Marcis, Randy LaJoie, Tony Stewart, and others.
"This is my 10th year at this event," said Scelzi from the bus that was transporting the drivers to the charity golf tournament today, all of whom were clearly having an uproarious time. "I missed the first year. There's a whole bunch of crazy guys who'll be in the tournament and in the race. All the World of Outlaws guys are here.
"We're going to have a great time at the tournament, which we always look forward to. I always end up winning it, but I never get the real trophy. I think it might be called the cheater's award. Me, Danny Lasoski, Tony Ross and Clint Bowyer are going to be on the same team. And no matter what team Danny is on we always seem to win. But we also always get a really small trophy. The real trophy seems to go to the other guys who legitimately play golf, I guess.
"We've been accused of cheating every year because we're undefeated. And I can hardly believe they would say that about us," Scelzi laughed. The jokes were flying on the bus ride.
As for the Wednesday night race itself, "I've got a whole bunch of tough guys to compete with just like (his DSR teammate) Ron Capps did at the Prelude to the Dream," said Scelzi. "Somehow I've magically already been assigned to the pole position. So, I've been told that since this is probably the last year for this event that for as many laps that I can hold the lead is when the checkered flag is going to fly. I'm supposed to the guaranteed winner," he said with a laugh and tongue planted firmly in his cheek, we suspect. Did we say they were having fun on the bus?
"I've never won this event. My best finish was a fourth, and everybody wants me to win this thing because I'm always so entertaining, but I never get a good finish.
"Last year I was able to lead for three laps and then spun and ended up coming from the back and ended up fourth."
Despite the chance to raise some hell with his NASCAR and WOO cohorts, helping raise money for a worthy charity always warms Scelzi's heart. "You know what? It's so rewarding," he said. "They show a really neat video about all the good things this charity has done with the money, such as building gyms, workout rooms, playrooms and a place for the parents to be able to stay with the kids. It's really heartwarming, especially if you have kids of your own." Scelzi is father to 11-year-old Dominic, and Giovanni, who is 6.
"That's one of the reasons that even with the hectic schedule we keep that I always make sure that, no matter whether it's in the middle or the end of the year, whenever they do this tournament and race that they can always count on me being there."
The Michael Ross Memorial Foundation was founded in honor of the son of Tony and Kathy Ross from American Compressed Steel, Inc. following Michael's passing due to complications from Tay-Sachs disease. The MRMF is a non-profit charity organization supporting Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, Michigan.
Bay Cliff Health Camp is a six-week summer camp that assists severely handicapped children. The camp funding is raised to help remove financial burdens from the children's families so the visits are completely covered including new wheel chairs, crutches or other medical equipment the children may need. The children participate in camp activities and are taught specific learning strategies to aid them and their handicaps.
"This Camp is a very special place and is something we all believe in," said Tony Ross. "Each year we try to raise the bar and beat the previous year's totals and that goal gets harder and harder to match every year. Together we've raised over $1,040,000 since the inception of the MRMF, which goes to show the dedication and support this charity has received over the past 10 years."
Danny Lasoski, the 2001 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion, is again helping to coordinate the event this season. The native of Dover, Missouri, has known the Ross family for a long time and has been instrumental in a number of different causes that have helped benefit the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation. Lasoski has won twice with the World of Outlaws at Sedalia's State Fair Speedway and has seven career wins at the half-mile in his home state.