Phoenix: Gary Scelzi final report

SCELZI MAKES GAINS IN PHOENIX, FINISHES IN SECOND ROUND CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2008) - Four-time world champion Gary Scelzi moved into a solo spot in fifth place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings today after ...

SCELZI MAKES GAINS IN PHOENIX, FINISHES IN SECOND ROUND

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 23, 2008) - Four-time world champion Gary Scelzi moved into a solo spot in fifth place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings today after finishing in the quarterfinals at the NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, the second event of the year.

After qualifying in the top half of the field, in No. 7, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T defeated reigning Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon with a 4.874-second pass at 317.72 mph to Pedregon's 5.052/260.11 in the opening stanza, then met up with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in the second round. Both had identical lap times in their opening-round victories, with lane choice going to Beckman because of speed.

They launched with nearly identical reaction times (.094 for Scelzi, .085 for Beckman - .000 is perfect), but Scelzi began experiencing tire shake, which pulled the front end into the air, and, despite quick pedaling action, Scelzi lost to Beckman with a 7.021/124.24 run to Beckman's winning 4.884/320.20.

"It went out there and it ran almost exactly the same as it did the run before," said Scelzi. "And it shook the tire and didn't recover. When I tried to pedal it, it was obviously close in the tune-up because the tire hooked up. But then it got into a big wheelstand. I saw a lot of white out the window. I knew I wasn't going to catch Jack, he was driving away, so I shut it off. I was going to have to shut it off anyway.

"We're a little confused right now, but that's the last run on this car. We're going to run the Brad Hadman chassis tomorrow (here at Firebird) and then we're going to go do some testing before Gainesville with the new Hadman car and a new Murf McKinney car. Not a three-tube car like John Force is running, but a normal two-bar car, with .095 (of an inch gauge tubing), as of the new rules, naturalized tubing - a twin to the car that we're running right now.

"Either way, we should be in good shape. Either the Hadman car will be better and we'll run it Gainesville or somewhere down the line or we'll be running the Murf car. We're going to learn something here.

"We haven't gone out in the first round yet, knock on wood, so that's a good thing. We're OK; we just need to figure out what this thing wants."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Jack Beckman , Don Schumacher