SCELZI ENDS HARD SEASON SEVENTH IN NHRA POINTS POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) - Gary Scelzi handed over his 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car crown to John Force today after Force won his 14th championship at the Automobile Club of...
SCELZI ENDS HARD SEASON SEVENTH IN NHRA POINTS
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2006) - Gary Scelzi handed over his 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car crown to John Force today after Force won his 14th championship at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.
Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, Scelzi was dismissed in the opening round of eliminations by Tommy Johnson Jr. after losing traction and slowing to a 7.419-second elapsed time at 116.02 mph. Johnson claimed the victory with a 5.000/279.61.
"There's no window," explained Scelzi, clearly disappointed over the team's lackluster performance for most of the 2006 season. "Like I've been saying all along, the thing either smokes the tires or hauls ass, and now it's not hauling ass.
"So, we went to start the car this morning, and our ignition is screwed up and its been screwed up since Vegas, but we keep changing things. It goes one run, it does everything right, and then the next run it doesn't. Well, this morning it just wasn't doing anything right, so we changed every single thing on it and when we re-fired it everything looked good again, but we were afraid it was going to have too much power. How do you pull it back when you're not sure how much power it's off? And it just went out there and it got fast and it got faster until it smoked the tires.
"It's like we've been saying, we're going to have to make a major change. We tried to milk this combination all year long and it's not forgiving, it's not working right. Mike (crew chief Neff) is going to take a couple of weeks and just go clear his head and figure out what we need to do for next year, because right now we really don't know.
"You can almost say it's a fitting end to the way the year's gone all the way. We looked really good in Denver (only season win), we looked good in Englishtown for a while (runner-up to Ron Capps), I looked good, I looked bad. It's been a give-and-take season and we just never got on the same page all year long.
"I guess I shouldn't bitch, because I've had a great career, period," said the four-time world champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car). "This is one of the worst years I've ever had and I still finished seventh and won a race. When you look at it like that, in the big picture, I'm healthy, my family's healthy, everything is good, and I have a job next year. In the big picture, there's not a lot to bitch about. But it's just frustrating when you've won as much as this team has, and you know that it's capable of a lot more than we showed. Now we just need to go fix it."
Scelzi ends the season seventh in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points rankings, with one win, two runners-up, three semifinal and seven quarterfinal finishes, with a season round win-loss record of 23-21.
Since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2003, Scelzi has collected one championship, eight victories, seven runners-up, 18 semifinal and 28 quarterfinal finishes, and a win-loss record of 117-82.
Career-wise, including his stint in Top Fuel, Scelzi has earned four championships, 34 wins, 23 runners-up, 52 semifinal and 59 quarterfinal finishes, qualified No. 1 42 times and holds a career 345-174 win record.