SCELZI SET TO COME BACK DOWN TO EARTH IN SEATTLE KENT, Wash. (July 15, 2008) - Gary Scelzi is a four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car), and has 37 national-event career victories in 58 final ...
SCELZI SET TO COME BACK DOWN TO EARTH IN SEATTLE
KENT, Wash. (July 15, 2008) - Gary Scelzi is a four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion (three in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car), and has 37 national-event career victories in 58 final rounds. He has won twice in Top Fuel (2000, 2001) at Pacific Raceways, holds the Funny Car top-speed record there (325.85 mph), set in 2005, was low qualifier there four times (1997, 2000 and 2001 in TF; in FC in 2003), but has never won a fuel Funny Car national event at this facility in the Northwest corner of the United States.
Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T in his sixth season with Don Schumacher Racing, Scelzi is ready to get back down to earth following last weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver and change that statistic. He's pumped up about his, the team's and the car's performance after spending a large part of the first half of the season adapting to a new car, new NHRA rules and, most recently, racing to the 1000-ft. mark instead of the traditional 1320-ft. finish line.
As the No. 16 qualifier in Denver he knocked out low qualifier Tony Pedregon in the opening round at the Mile-Highs, and despite his close loss to Robert Hight in the second round, "Wild Thing" - as he's known by his fans - is charged up by his Dodge Charger.
"What we learned in Denver is going to roll right over to Seattle," said Scelzi, who is 13th in the rankings, just 39 points out of 10th place. That's where he needs to be after the next five races in order to race for the Funny Car crown in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. "I think the air is going to be really good there. The track is OK, hopefully it won't be hot, but what we learned last week going into Seattle is going to be good.
"We're getting closer to my home on this Western Swing (Denver, Seattle, Sonoma, Calif.)," added the Fresno, Calif., native. "There are a lot of good people in Seattle. Brad Hadman, who builds our chassis is there. He's building us another new car so I'm going to get fitted for that. Great seafood. I've had a lot of success there in the Sportsman class. That's where I won my first Alcohol Funny Car race. I've won there in Top Fuel. I just have to win there in Funny Car.
"Everything is going to get back to normal," he said of coming down to sea level after the Mile-Highs in Denver. "No more goofy blower overdrive, no more 90 percent. We'll drop it back to our normal combination, and with the trees that produce all the oxygen around there this thing should haul ass."
Scelzi and the Don Schumacher Racing team enjoy a unique relationship with Mopar and Dodge, where local dealerships often assist the team by providing vehicles for some of its drivers and team members. This weekend Chrysler Jeep Dodge Bellevue in Washington State is supporting DSR. "These guys are great," said Scelzi. "Not only do we get their support, we get to drive some bad-ass Dodges, and we really enjoy and appreciate that."