Las Vegas II: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI CALM BEFORE THE STORM IN VEGAS LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2007) - Gary Scelzi says he's unusually calm before the storm of the Countdown to One, which begins this weekend at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas ...

SCELZI CALM BEFORE THE STORM IN VEGAS

LAS VEGAS (Oct. 23, 2007) - Gary Scelzi says he's unusually calm before the storm of the Countdown to One, which begins this weekend at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With two events remaining in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series before a Funny Car champion is named out of the top four in points, second-place Scelzi is busy with parental and team owner duties.

"You know what?" he said, "I'm working on (son) Dominic's stuff (Restricted 600 Mini-Sprint). We raced last Saturday, and my midget (with driver Michael Faccinto) is going to race on Saturday in Vegas. I'm going into Vegas with the same approach we had when we went into Virginia: go there and try to qualify in the top half of the field. Hopefully, my nerves won't go to pieces until Sunday. And, hopefully, we won't wait until the last qualifying session to get in.

"We'll be a little less dramatic," added the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T who didn't make the field at the last event in Virginia until the final qualifying session, then went on to win his fourth season event and move into second from sixth in the standings. "I've been in these situations so many times, fortunately, that fate is fate. It's either going to happen or it's not going to happen. So you just go in there and you try to treat it like another race. We all know that's not going to happen, but I'm not going to worry about it until the time comes to worry about it.

"Right now we're in Vegas, (wife) Julie and I and the kids (Dominic and Giovanni) are going to spend some time and see a show. We have a baby sitter coming out and Julie and I are going to spend a couple of days in Vegas and go to dinner with friends. We're just going to have a good time and try to relax and I'll worry about all that stuff come Friday."

As for last week's test session at The Strip: "We learned a lot of things," said Scelzi, a four-time NHRA world champion, including a 2005 Funny Car title. "Todd (Okuhara, crew chief along with Phil Shuler) seemed to be extremely happy with what we've learned.

"If I were to pick a crew chief to take me to Vegas, I want the guy who won Vegas and set the national record at Pomona going into the last two races," said Scelzi of Okuhara, who tuned Scelzi's teammate Jack Beckman's MTS Dodge at the end of 2006 to those exact results. "I'm excited about having Todd and Phil in my corner and our working together. I think our chances are as good if not better as anybody's. I believe things are going to be good."

Scelzi's record at The Strip includes a 2004 (LV2) victory in Funny Car, an FC runner-up in 2005, and two No. 1 qualifiers, at both 2005 events.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi