Madison: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

Scelzi uncorks new track records, takes No. 1 at Gateway MADISON, ILL. (June 26, 2004) - The HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus is rocketing down the quarter-mile again. Gary Scelzi collected his first No. 1 Funny Car qualifying spot of 2004 ...

Scelzi uncorks new track records, takes No. 1 at Gateway

MADISON, ILL. (June 26, 2004) - The HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus is rocketing down the quarter-mile again. Gary Scelzi collected his first No. 1 Funny Car qualifying spot of 2004 tonight, at the same time as he destroyed his own E.T. and speed track records from last night with a spectacular 4.724-second pass at 329.50 mph under cool and dry conditions. This was also Scelzi's career-best Funny Car elapsed time, and the speed surpassed the Top Fuel track record, set in yesterday's second round of qualifying, of 328.54 mph.

"When you come to places like this and normally it's slippery," he said, "we take weight out of the front end. And all we had was an empty weight bar in there. This thing left so hard, it had like an .880 60-ft. (increment), which is one of our best. And it just ran incredible incrementals all the way through.

"The front end was light and it was moving over to the centerline and I was just yanking it left, yanking it left. It really wasn't coming back to where I wanted it to. Then when I got out there past half track it made a big move to the left and I thought, Oh no, too much. It was a handful. I wasn't able to enjoy the run because I was so busy trying not to run into anything.

"It's just so exciting. The build-up before the run (was incredible). (John) Force comes by and he goes, Scelzi I'm going 4.71. You're going to be upset or I'm going to the burn center, he says. Either way you're going to be sad when I'm done with you. He came down there tonight and congratulated me after my run. It's just funny because everybody was going to beat that 4.758 (from last night), and we were too. (Whit) Bazemore made his run (4.767/326.48) and we knew what his incrementals were, so we knew how hard we could hit it, where we could hit it.

"We figured we would shoot our shot and see what we could do. But it was really kind of calculated. (Crew chief) Mike Neff knew just about how far he could go to where he was on the edge. I'm going to tell you right now, that run was on the edge and that's incredible.

"We've got a big first round tomorrow. We have Tony Pedregon; he's the World Champ, and then who knows where it goes from there.

"But if we can end up here late tomorrow night, we're definitely going to try to uncork one again. [That E.T.] is the first leg of another record. So if we can nip a .71 that would be beautiful, because we can use those 20 points right now."

"I'm pretty fired up right now," said Neff. "That was a good run for us. It feels good. The St. Louis track's got a bad rap over the last few years racing here, as hot as it's been. And now that the conditions are good there's nothing wrong with this track at all."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Gary Scelzi , Mike Neff