Memphis: Gary Scelzi preview

FC CHAMP SCELZI ON COURSE TO NO. 3 IN POINTS IN MEMPHIS Also, Dominic Scelzi Racing Update MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 17, 2006) - Gary ScelzI is making dead aim towards the No. 3 spot in the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car ...

FC CHAMP SCELZI ON COURSE TO NO. 3 IN POINTS IN MEMPHIS

Also, Dominic Scelzi Racing Update

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 17, 2006) - Gary ScelzI is making dead aim towards the No. 3 spot in the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings as the season winds down to the last seven venues, including the 17th round this weekend, the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park.

The reigning Funny Car champion, three-time Top Fuel Champion, and 2000 Top Fuel winner in Memphis, who is seventh in the standings after his runner-up finish in Brainerd, Minn., on Sunday, knows his chances of getting back into the Funny Car championship chase are slim. He's 240 points behind leader and teammate Ron Capps and 192 short of second-place John Force.

The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car does see a chance to finish in the top three, however, and has his sights set on knocking Tony Pedregon, 50 points ahead, out of that position.

"Everything is good," says the Fresno, Calif., native, who's had one win, two runner-ups and one semifinal finish in the last six races. "I'm really pleased with the performance we had in Brainerd. The Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger is showing signs of recovery again. We're just a little bit off on our consistency, but it's a lot better than it's been for the last two races.

"We're coming into another hot, slippery race track," he says of Memphis, "and we did well in Denver (winner), so I think we should be fine, even with the new combination, which should be OK.

"We actually tested part of this combination on Monday after the St. Louis race, but we didn't have all the pieces we needed. But it went right down the track in St. Louis when it was hot, so I'm thinking it should just carry right on over to Memphis.

"We tested some experimental stuff. Not all the stuff we have now, just some of it, and it worked really well. So, I think we have enough knowledge now between the test we did there and the test we did in Chicago (before Brainerd), that we should be in pretty good shape."

Scelzi and the team struggled earlier in the season, but they're chipping their way back to the front, despite actually losing a position last weekend. "We lost a spot, but we are closer to Tony Pedregon in third now," Scelzi says. "We're like three rounds out of third even though we fell to seventh. We built a little bit of a cushion between us and (Whit) Bazemore (in eighth), but we just need to look forward and not look behind us."

DOMINIC SCELZI UPDATE:

Nine-year-old Dominic Scelzi continues to excel in the Junior Sprint class in California. After what his dad Gary Scelzi called "a bad weekend," Dominic is just 40 points out of the lead with seven races remaining in the season.

Dominic had the chance to make another step up in his fledgling racing career by testing a Mini Sprint in Lemoore, Calif., on Tuesday. "He did really good," said the elder Scelzi. "He races Junior Sprint, which has a 100 cc Yamaha engine in it, and we put him in a 600 cc Mini Sprint. His car is 400 pounds, this one is 750 pounds with 60 horsepower instead of 17.

"He hauled ass. I don't think he has enough upper body strength yet to go 20 laps and a 10-lap heat race and qualifying, and, actually, he is too young to be in one.

"His first reaction was that he didn't want to drive the Junior Sprint anymore. I said, Hey, you have another year to drive this thing before you can even get in that other deal.

"We'll probably build one over the winter and then get him practicing all year long, so by the time he goes he'll have enough strength."

As for last weekend in the Junior Sprint, in which Dominic is in a three-way battle for the lead, "He finished fourth and the other two kids got around him - one by 10 points, the other one by 30. He's fine," said Gary. "They have a big Friday-Saturday show this weekend in Visalia. I'm going to miss that. That will be a big event and he could take the lead again. The three of them are all bunched in real close."

-credit: dsr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi