Phoenix: Gary Scelzi final summary

SCELZI OUT IN FIRST ROUND IN PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) - Despite a first-round loss today at the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, Gary Scelzi is not discouraged, as he believes his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is...

SCELZI OUT IN FIRST ROUND IN PHOENIX

CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 25, 2007) - Despite a first-round loss today at the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, Gary Scelzi is not discouraged, as he believes his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is still the best car in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car class.

He demonstrated the Mopar/Oakley Dodge's prowess by winning the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif., two weeks ago, then again by producing three out of four solid qualifying runs here to place him No. 3 in the field.

"It wasn't pretty," seemed to be the theme for the winners today on a hot, sticky track, and "that was ugly" the mantra for the losers. Scelzi's heart-breaking .0095-of-a-second loss to Gary Densham fell in the latter category. Scelzi took off with a .091 reaction time (.000 is perfect), Densham responded with a .105. Scelzi led for 1000 feet until the car lost traction and got sideways as he made a valiant attempt to recover. Densham's run was similar, but he took the win with a 5.737/231.56 pass to Scelzi's losing 5.760/215.07.

"It was ugly," said Scelzi, as expected. "It was more surprising than anything because the car's been so good and so consistent and Zippy (crew chief Mike Neff) actually pulled it back some for the first round. Even a little bit more in the staging lanes. The car just didn't respond. It was actually quicker than our 4.69 (-second qualifying) run, which was a little bit too much.

"The car went out there and kind of surprised me when it smoked the tire and got away from me and got her too sideways and tried to get it to recover, but I got over by the wall and it just was an animal. I couldn't get it to respond. And when I finally got it to go, it blew the tires off again, and we lost by .0095 of a second.

"You know, it's still one of the best cars out here by far. We'll figure out what happened, we'll fix it, and we'll go to Gainesville. And I feel real confident. This is probably the best car that I've ever had, even better than in '05 (when he won his first Funny Car championship), and we're going to make something happen with it."

Scelzi dropped out of the lead in the Funny Car point standings and is now third, 41 points behind leader Robert Hight and 35 points back of today's winner Tony Pedregon.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Robert Hight , Mike Neff