LAS VEGAS (Oct. 26, 2003) - Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus driver Gary Scelzi had little to complain about in today's Funny Car final eliminations of the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals after struggling in qualifying - except perhaps not beating...
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 26, 2003) - Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus driver Gary Scelzi had little to complain about in today's Funny Car final eliminations of the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals after struggling in qualifying - except perhaps not beating Tony Pedregon in the semifinal round.
Always a team player, the No. 10 qualifier first disposed of No. 4 qualifier John Force in the first round (4.879/321.88 vs. 4.920/313.88), which gave his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Whit Bazemore some breathing room, as Force had an opportunity to pass Bazemore for second in the championship going into this event. This was Scelzi's third win this season against Force in four meetings.
In the second round he dismissed Tim Wilkerson (4.909/320.58 vs. 4.944/307.51) with a stellar .028 reaction time to match the .026 he used to beat Force.
The semifinal round provided him another opportunity to help his teammate Bazemore as he was paired against Bazemore's rival for the Funny Car championship Tony Pedregon. With lane choice, Scelzi launched with a .059 reaction time to Pedregon's .041, but he barely reached the 300-ft. mark before he struck the tires. He tried to pedal it, but it was all she wrote as Pedregon took the win with a 4.881 at 310.13 mph to Scelzi's 5.976/216.97.
With Ron Capps going out in the first round, Scelzi is now tied with Capps in sixth with 1084 points.
"We had a great day today," said Scelzi. "We're nipping on Capps' heels for sixth and we're sort of there."
"We came from the rubbles. We had a lot of problems in qualifying and we came back and we knocked Force off. We had low E.T. of that round and l ran a great second round. We had just a little bit too much steam in it for Tony Pedregon. I'm not sure why it did what it did, but for whatever the reason, we didn't get the win. We made it to the semi, so it was a good day for the Oakley Dodge."
"It smoked the tires right away," he said of his match against Pedregon. "It just had too much power. It's just one of those things. I pedaled it and it recovered, which is a good thing. This means Mike (Neff, crew chief) was really close on the tune-up, because normally when you pedal and it smokes the tires again you're way over center, but it did recover. Tony was out there a long way so I rode it out for a little bit, and when I saw him way out there I just shut it off."
"We're happy," he continued. "We're going to test here tomorrow. We're going to try some new things for next year and our program is in great shape and I'm excited. I also feel a lot better after having a week off."
Note: Tony Pedregon won today's final round against Whit Bazemore and clinched the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship.