Memphis: Gary Scelzi preview

Scelzi: it's business as usual in Memphis MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 17, 2003) - Gary Scelzi, of Fresno, Calif. (the locals are called Fresnans in that part of the country), has been on the road since the first U.S. Nationals were attempted to be...

Scelzi: it's business as usual in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 17, 2003) - Gary Scelzi, of Fresno, Calif. (the locals are called Fresnans in that part of the country), has been on the road since the first U.S. Nationals were attempted to be held on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis. That means, with the re-scheduled U.S. Nationals held on the first weekend of September, and the rained-out Reading, Pa., Lucas Oil Nationals re-scheduled for Oct. 4-5, Scelzi will be away from home for seven weekends.

That's tough for any driver, team and crew. And, now, with the possible threat of Hurricane Isabel touching down in the eastern U.S. this weekend, the driver of the Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus Funny Car says simply, "you gotta do what you gotta do."

"It's tough on the crew," says the fastest Funny Car driver on the planet, with his 328.06 mph national top-speed record, set in Joliet this year. "It's hard being away from home that long. But, it's what we do. We get our clothes washed, get on airplanes and get into our motor homes and we travel to the next race. It's more races in a row than we're used to, but it's just part of the game."

And, as for Hurricane Isabel, "It keeps getting weaker; that's a good thing. Today the forecast for the next five days in Memphis is good. It's supposed to be in the 70s this week and in the 80s on Sunday, so it shouldn't be too hot here."

So, it's business as usual here for Scelzi, eighth in points and reaching for a top-five year-end finish in his first full season of Nitro Funny Car competition. "The plan is the same, to qualify in in the top half of the field and win. We have a car capable of it. We had a fluke that happened at the U.S. Nationals (a broken spark plug which resulted in a first-round loss), and obviously at Reading with the rain-out we didn't learn anything.

"We feel we're on track and we're going ahead with the new parts," says Scelzi, winner of his first Nitro Funny Car race in Sonoma, Calif., in August. "When the track is cool we can run with anybody, if not be the quickest and fastest car out there.

"That's also part of the plan for Memphis. The race track has supposedly been ground so it should be a good racing surface. It should be a great weekend for the Oakley Dodge," adds the three-time Top Fuel champion and Top Fuel winner here at Memphis Motorsports Park in 2000.

In the last four races, Scelzi has qualified in the top five four times, including two No. 1s, a No. 5 and a No. 2. He's qualified in the top half of the field 13 times in 17 events.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi