Memphis: Gary Scelzi final report

SCELZI BUOYED BY MOPAR/OAKLEY DODGE'S PROGRESS IN MEMPHIS MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2008) - Gary Scelzi was buoyed by the promise of a strong result driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at this weekend's 21st annual NHRA...

SCELZI BUOYED BY MOPAR/OAKLEY DODGE'S PROGRESS IN MEMPHIS

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2008) - Gary Scelzi was buoyed by the promise of a strong result driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at this weekend's 21st annual NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

With his solid No. 8 qualifying effort and a series of straight and quick passes under his belt, Scelzi dismissed No. 9 qualifier Gary Densham in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations, posting a 4.131-second elapsed time at 295.08 mph to beat Densham's 4.138/291.45 by a margin of 21 inches.

An engine explosion, however, in his quarterfinal match-up over Ashley Force, ended his day early and surprised him and crew chief Richard Hogan. While Ms. Force was claiming the victory with a 4.146/291.57 pass, Scelzi coasted across the finish line with a 6.362/98.30.

"It spun the tires, put some cylinders out, backfired the supercharger, and blew the rod out," explained crew chief Richard Hogan. "It also caused some minor body damage, but we'll have to check that closer to make sure.

"Luckily, it happened early in the run; he was not up to speed. If he was further down track and it spun the tires and did that it could have resulted in a fire.

"You might get away with it spinning the tires 50 times and not having it do that and then the next time it goes out and spins the tires it has an explosion."

Despite the setback, Scelzi was encouraged by the car's performance the last several events. "I think the Mopar/Oakley Dodge is making big progress," said Scelzi, who remains 14th in the point standings with three events remaining in the 2008 season. "It's unfortunate it smoked the tires and we had that problem against Ashley, but things are looking good finally at the end of the year."

Next up is the third annual Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va., Oct. 10-12.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham