Reading: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI NOT LOOKING FOR MIRACLES IN READING FRESNO, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2008) - Although mathematically still in the running to earn a berth in the Countdown to 1 championship playoffs, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi...

SCELZI NOT LOOKING FOR MIRACLES IN READING

FRESNO, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2008) - Although mathematically still in the running to earn a berth in the Countdown to 1 championship playoffs, four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi faces a major challenge in the final two races before the playoffs begin for the top 10 in points following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend.

The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is 13th in the standings, 134 points out of a place in the top 10, with eight rounds of competition remaining. With 20 points allotted for each round win, it's still possible, but not probable. And Scelzi feels the pain.

"To me it's over," he said. "Not trying to be negative, but the performance of our car just hasn't been there all year long and we can't go into Reading and Indy looking for miracles. All we can do is try to straighten this thing out and try to do well.

"I'm not looking for big things to happen," said Scelzi, whose crew chief Todd Okuhara is still recuperating from a viral inner-ear infection. Okuhara missed last weekend's event in Brainerd, Minn., and is not expected to be at Maple Grove this weekend. U.S. Army dragster crew chief Alan Johnson has pitched in, as well as Phil Shuler, crew chief on the Rockstar Energy Drink Dodge.

"Alan Johnson has done a great job helping Phil and trying to change some things around. But even Alan Johnson doesn't have a magic wand," Scelzi added. "So, I'm not going into Reading looking for miracles. I'm just going there to try to get a consistent race car that hopefully can be fast by the time we get to Indy and maybe cause some havoc on the guys in the Countdown.

"Right now I just want to try to salvage a win or two or maybe more. And try to keep team morale up. It's pretty frustrating and it's difficult on the team right now."

Scelzi is a three-time victor at Maple Grove Raceway: two wins in Top Fuel (1998 and 2001) and once in Funny Car, in 2004. He was also low qualifier in Top Fuel in 1998 and 1999 and in Funny Car in 2005.

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi