DEFENDING EVENT CHAMP SCELZI TAKES NO. 13 IN POMONA QUALIFYING POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2008) - Gary Scelzi and his MoparÂ®/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team will start final eliminations on Sunday at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals...
DEFENDING EVENT CHAMP SCELZI TAKES NO. 13 IN POMONA QUALIFYING
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 9, 2008) - Gary Scelzi and his Mopar®/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car team will start final eliminations on Sunday at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in the No. 13 spot after posting a 4.845-second pass at 322.27 mph during Friday's qualifying run. And, although he won't have lane choice in his first-round match against Scott Kalitta, the Don Schumacher Racing driver and four-time NHRA champion is nevertheless feeling optimistic about his chances to go rounds and repeat as the event champion in the season-opening NHRA event.
"Even though we're not qualified in the top half of the field, it doesn't really matter," said Scelzi, who sports the new Mopar "Liquid Metal" paint scheme on his Funny Car. "The lanes are equal, and I think we can play hardball tomorrow. And I can't wait to do it."
It was a bit of a mixed bag for the man known as the "Wild Thing" during three days of qualifying in his HEMI®-powered Funny Car at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Scelzi struck the tires and posted a run of 7.422/120.23 in the sole Thursday qualifying session. He then recorded his best pass of the four sessions on Friday with the 4.845/322.27, reeled off a solid run of 4.919/318.54 in the first Saturday session, and then closed with a pass of 7.115/117.46 after smoking the tires in his final qualifying run on Saturday.
"Two out of four - not exactly the way we wanted to end it," said Scelzi of his qualifying efforts. "When everyone was running those .79s (polesitter by speed Tim Wilkerson posted a 4.790, as well as Scelzi's DSR teammate Jerry Toliver), we knew that we could run low .80s. We wanted to go for the pole. It made it about 400 feet, then it knocked the tires.
"We learned something. We know where we're not going to go tomorrow."