Oakley boys Cannon and Scelzi out but not down in Phoenix. CHANDLER, ARIZ. (February 23, 2003): Scotty Cannon, and his Oakley Time Bomb Funny Car team, under the leadership of crew chief Phil Shuler, were progressing steadily throughout the ...
Oakley boys Cannon and Scelzi out but not down in Phoenix.
CHANDLER, ARIZ. (February 23, 2003): Scotty Cannon, and his Oakley Time Bomb Funny Car team, under the leadership of crew chief Phil Shuler, were progressing steadily throughout the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals weekend, the second event of the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, virtually increasing the car's performance with every run. In qualifying, Cannon bettered his top speed in every round: 6.836/127.20; 5.056/262.90; 5.093/265.80; 4.966/304.80. This gave the team the shot in the arm they needed after struggling in the early part of the year.
However, as the 16th qualifier, he had the unfortunate privilege of having to face the No. 1 qualifier in the first round of eliminations, Tony Pedregon. Cannon and Pedregon were running doorhandle-to-doorhandle to the halfway mark, with Cannon's one-eighth-mile speed a tick faster than Pedregon's (254.38 mph to 253.75). But mixing cylinders and losing a supercharger belt slowed Cannon's run to a 5.050/243.50 pass at the finish, while Pedregon continued to a 4.870/318.77 winning pass.
"We didn't qualify good, we still have some issues," said Cannon, whose record now against Tony Pedregon is 2-4. " We're dropping cylinders. The good news is that the car's going down the track. It looks like the clutch man is doing his job, but me and Phil (Shuler, crew chief) can't seem to get the motor right. We're looking forward to going to Gainesville (the next event on March 16 in Gainesville, Fla.) We're testing the manifold we had our motor set up for the first of the year here at Firebird tomorrow. We'll see how testing goes. We'll get a handle on it sooner or later; hopefully sooner."
Cannon's teammate, Gary Scelzi, in the Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, made two good runs today, advancing to the second round after defeating Del Worsham (4.833/318.99 to 5.718/184.72). In the quarterfinal, against Gary Densham, it was anyone's race, with Scelzi taking the edge on reaction time. It was a close race, as Densham took the victory by an 11-foot margin with a 4.808/314.90 pass to Scelzi's 4.850/319.75. There were no unhappy faces, however, in the Don Schumacher Racing camp:
"Today was great," said two-time Top Fuel champion Scelzi. "It's just one of those unfortunate things. We just missed. We went down the race track 10 times in a row (this season). These guys (the crew) were just filling me with confidence. I had the best lights I've had...ever. We just missed. We just got outran; we were a little bit soft and they ran a little better. I can't wait to get to Gainesville. We were runner-up there last year with a different team. I'm with a team that can win right now and I think we're going to show these people that. We found we had a weak supercharger last night, put a new one on today, stepped right up with an .83, came right back with an .85. We're pleased. We think we know where we're at. We're going to try some new things tomorrow in testing here to get us that much further ahead of the game. If things go the way we think they're going to go, with some help from Wes Cerny (Tony Schumacher's Top Fuel Dragster crew chief), we can be a pretty serious player the rest of the year."
Mike Neff, Scelzi's crew chief was only somewhat disappointed. "We're actually really pleased with the way we were running today," he said. "We're a little behind coming in today, not running as quick as we were trying to, so we were pleased with the first run. We took it back up there hoping to run that again. Realistically, it ran about the same, Jimmy Prock (Densham's crew chief) and that (John) Force camp up there, stepped up and just plain whooped us. The car's doing everything we wanted it to do. I'm disappointed but still very happy with the way everything is going, the job Gary is doing, and my crew; I'm really happy."
In the POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, Scelzi falls to 11th place with 87 points, while Cannon is tied in 14th with 62 points. Today's Funny Car winner, Ron Capps, takes the lead in points, with 184.