Pomona: Gary Scelzi final summary

SCELZI POSTS HIS CAREER QUICKEST ET AND FASTEST SPEED IN POMONA FIRST ROUND POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2005) - It was a bittersweet first round of eliminations for the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car today at the season-opening...

SCELZI POSTS HIS CAREER QUICKEST ET AND FASTEST SPEED IN POMONA FIRST ROUND

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 13, 2005) - It was a bittersweet first round of eliminations for the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car today at the season-opening CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals. Gary Scelzi rocketed to the finish line with a Funny Car career-best elapsed time of 4.717 seconds at an overall career-best (including Top Fuel and Funny Car) speed of 331.53 mph.

Unfortunately, he lost that round on a holeshot advantage to Phil Burkart Jr. who posted a slower yet winning 4.769/315.56. Scelzi's .154 reaction time was no match for Burkart's .096.

"Disheartening. What a way to remember your career best ET and mile an hour," said Scelzi, who had qualified sixth and is credited with a top-speed track record with that run. "It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. Last year I stole five and lost one on a holeshot. This is not the way I wanted to start out the year. But the changes we made to the Mopar/Oakley Dodge worked extremely well. The car has never been that smooth and that tune-up is not going to go away.

"Fortunately, all three John Force cars went out the first round. Kind of a weird races today; a lot of weird things happened. A lot of great times, a lot of great runs. We're going to shake it off and dust ourselves off. It's not the first time, it certainly is not going to be the last time. We're just going to try to not make a habit of it.

"It just kills me inside, but I can let it kill me all I want, but I'd better bring that fire to the starting line come Sunday in Phoenix and the rest of this year."

Scelzi earned 34 points towards the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship and is tied in 12th place.

Next up is the Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz., on Feb. 25-27.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Phil Burkart