Phoenix: Gary Scelzi preview

Pomona winner Scelzi aims to keep up momentum in Phoenix FRESNO, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2007) - Gary Scelzi, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader, season-opening Pomona victor from the No. 1 qualifying spot, and 2005 Funny Car...

Pomona winner Scelzi aims to keep up momentum in Phoenix

FRESNO, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2007) - Gary Scelzi, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader, season-opening Pomona victor from the No. 1 qualifying spot, and 2005 Funny Car champion, is aiming to keep up his winning momentum at this weekend's second event of the year, the CSK NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz.

With renewed confidence in the performance of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car after setting his career-best elapsed time of 4.690 seconds and career-best speed of 333.49 in Pomona, the Fresno, Calif., native is poised for continued success as this new season progresses.

January testing at Firebird Raceway in preparation for the new season and this weekend's race contributed, as well as consistency. "We ran really well there in testing," he said. "Phoenix is one of those really tricky, narrow-grooved race tracks, and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge seemed to go down there at will and the slowest we ran in testing was a 4.77 (-second elapsed time) and ran our quickest at a 4.73. (Teammate Ron) Capps ran really well there, but our car again was one of the most consistent in testing. Sometimes that doesn't mean much because other guys are trying things, but we made six out of eight runs without tire smoke and the two runs where it smoked the tires we were trying something totally different.

"Being consistently fast again will win the race this weekend. Just like Pomona. Even if the Mopar/Oakley Dodge doesn't win the race, it should go rounds, and that's what we're hoping for again. Get in the show on Friday on the first run, try to go for the pole in the late qualifying run on Friday, be consistent on Saturday and hopefully we'll get good draws on Sunday and go some rounds.

"We already know the modifications that need to be made to the car, because we were at Firebird a few weeks ago, and the track shouldn't be a whole lot different than it was in testing. (Track preparation specialist) Chad Head came in and prepared the race track and NHRA will do the same thing this weekend. The track will be at its best and hopefully so will we.

"We're not thinking about the Countdown to the Championship right now. Our goal is to win as many races as we can. We'll worry about the championship if we're in the top eight when we get to Indy, which hopefully we will be. If you win as many races as you can, you'll be in the Chase. So, that's the key, to win races."

Four-time NHRA champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car) Scelzi has never won a Funny Car event at Firebird Raceway, and has one Top Fuel win there, in 1997.

-credit: dsr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Chad Head