Richmond: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI INSPIRED BY SON'S SUCCESS FRESNO, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi reaped some inspiration from his 10-year-old son Dominic's Mini-Sprint racing success in California last weekend, ...

SCELZI INSPIRED BY SON'S SUCCESS

FRESNO, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi reaped some inspiration from his 10-year-old son Dominic's Mini-Sprint racing success in California last weekend, as well as his USAC driver's performance, as he approaches this weekend's Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

Sixth in the Countdown to Four point standings, with this one event remaining to determine the final four for the Countdown to One, Scelzi is hoping Dominic's success will rub off on him.

"Dominic had a great weekend," explained Scelzi, who runs Gary Scelzi Motorsports in his "spare" time. "He set fast time, ran second in the heat, started eighth in the main, ran second. That's the best weekend we've had in a while.

"Michael (Faccinto, 17) also ran really well in the USAC Midget. He started on the pole and led all 16 laps of the main event in Hanford (Calif.). The track was so rough it was eating tires, so they shortened the main event from 25 to 15 laps. But we knew that going in. He led every lap; that was outstanding.

"So now I'm the one left to hold up the old Gary Scelzi Motorsports banner. If I don't do any good here in Richmond, they're going to fire me," he laughed.

Six drivers will be vying for a slot in the top four, as John Force, who moved into fourth at the last race, will not compete in Richmond this weekend while he recuperates from injuries sustained after he crashed winning the second round in Dallas. "It's a shame that Force isn't going to be there," said Scelzi. "We're all hoping for a speedy recovery for John because that's really the reason we all race, because Force is the best.

"He's won more championships, won more races than anybody. He came from virtually nowhere this year to make the Countdown and then jumped up and won three races. He's just phenomenal. He's the one we all go after. For him not to be there and not be competing is sad. Not that anybody else is going to be very weak.

"We need to go to the finals. We need to be in that top four. We need to run well, so we're part of this thing in Vegas (the penultimate season event in Las Vegas on Oct. 26-28, where the top four will begin the Countdown to One playoffs). That's our plan.

"We've taken steps to reinforce our Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T in the driver's area where John's broke, so all three of the Don Schumacher Racing Funny cars are being stiffened and reinforced so that doesn't happen again. Of all the bad things that happened a couple of weeks ago, the good thing is that all these care are going to be a lot safer. At least I know our cars are going to be. That makes me feel better going into Virginia, because I definitely didn't like what I saw in Dallas."

As for getting into the top four, "There's no room for error," said Scelzi, a three-time winner this season. "We went out first round last race. We don't really know what happened. It shook the tires, it hadn't done that in a while. We're going to go into Virginia and try to win the race, just like we do every other time. Right now you've got to get to the final or win the race, otherwise the Countdown is going to become a memory."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher