KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2003) - Ten years ago Gary Scelzi won the Alcohol Funny Car event here at Pacific Raceways (nee Seattle Raceway) and now, in 2003, he'd like nothing better than to win in a Fuel Funny Car. The driver of the Oakley Time Bomb...
KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2003) - Ten years ago Gary Scelzi won the Alcohol Funny Car event here at Pacific Raceways (nee Seattle Raceway) and now, in 2003, he'd like nothing better than to win in a Fuel Funny Car. The driver of the Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus who has won 25 races in Top Fuel Dragster competition and has three Top Fuel championships under his belt is still looking for his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car win.
"It was my first national event win in a Funny Car and I was so happy," says Scelzi, who drove for the Miner Brothers then. "I had won in a Dragster and now I had won in a Funny Car. It's almost like the same stage we're at now. I've won in a Top Fuel Dragster at Seattle a few times. Everybody has been asking me when am I going to get my first Funny Car win and I can't think of a better place than Seattle to finally do it."
Scelzi, of Fresno, Calif., has a strong record here at Pacific Raceways in Top Fuel Dragster, before he joined Don Schumacher Racing full-time this season in the Funny Car ranks. He was runner-up in 1997, and winner in 2000 and 2001. In each of these successes, he started from the No. 1 qualifying position.
"It's a tricky race track," he admits. "It's beautiful here. When you get here you've got all these trees. It's in a wooded area, and you'd never know there was a race track here. You've got Mount Rainier in the background. It's just absolutely gorgeous. I've always liked Seattle.
"When I was a Sportsman racer in the Alcohol classes I used to come here, and Woodburn, Oregon, and Yakima (Wash.), so we used to race here quite a bit and for some reason - a lot like Pomona - sometimes I really have good luck here. If there's going to be any place with good luck for me, I'm hoping it's here this weekend."
Scelzi and his new team with crew chief Mike Neff have been struggling this season, but have been making headway in the last few races. "The goal is to qualify in the top half of the field," says Scelzi. "We're going to get the final end of all the new parts we've been talking about here for a few weeks. The decision hasn't been made yet whether we're going to run them right off or not. I think we are. We're going to try to get this Oakley Dodge down the race track and get it qualified in the top half of the field and then just hope that luck goes our way and that these parts make our car as consistent as it needs to be to win. That is the key right now. We just want to be consistent. And if we're consistently quick and fast then we may be having a big celebration come Sunday night."
The beauty of this track isn't the only thing Scelzi likes about the Northwest. "What I love about this place is the salmon," he says. "I love fish and being right here in Seattle, what better place to have fish. No, I don't catch the salmon myself. I buy it and have it prepared for me. I'm not a fisherman."
Pacific Raceways also has a calming influence, he says. "Whenever you get around this place it just puts you in a good mood. It's just something about being around the trees and the scenery which puts you in a good mood. It can be miserable when it rains, but when it's sunshine it's absolutely gorgeous."