Seattle: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

KENT, Wash. (July 26, 2003) - For the first time in his short Funny Car career (including a limited season of seven events in 2002 and 14 events of a full-time effort this year), Gary Scelzi grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot for an NHRA POWERade...

KENT, Wash. (July 26, 2003) - For the first time in his short Funny Car career (including a limited season of seven events in 2002 and 14 events of a full-time effort this year), Gary Scelzi grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot for an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car event. The clean and mean pass he posted in his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus in last evening's qualifying session of 4.964 seconds at a speed of 299.33 mph made him low qualifier here for the fourth time in his NHRA pro drag-racing career. The three-time NHRA Top Fuel Dragster champion was No. 1 qualifier here in 1997, 2000 and 2001, winning in '00 and '01 and taking runner-up position in '97.

In today's two sessions, the Oakley Time Bomb Dodge went up in smoke (11.050/85.64 and 8.903/91.46) as the team took advantage of their position to try different parts and setups.

"This place has been good to me," said Scelzi, of Fresno, Calif. "I'm just hoping that we have a little bit of luck. That's something that's avoided us all year long. And you've got to have a break. You look at any win that anybody's had and normally there's a round there that you probably shouldn't have got by and we've never had that yet. So we're hoping that tomorrow, unlike today, that we go down the race track four times.

"We kind of put ourselves in a position to be able to play with some stuff, but actually that last round was not a position that we were playing. We were trying to be a little bit on the hot side, but it didn't like it. We should be able to put it back to the way we ran .96 tomorrow and we'll go out and see what happens. That's all you can do. You can't stay up at night (worrying) - you're going to get sick to your stomach anyway the first round. I am always. Being No. 1 isn't going to be anything other than we've got lane choice in the first round. Other than that, it's anybody's ballgame."

Lane choice at this notoriously bumpy track is very important, said Scelzi. "The right lane is going to be a big factor. I feel it's the best of the two. Even though we went .96 in the left. If we lose lane choice, we know we can run the left lane. We've got to get [the race] in by this time (5 p.m.) because if we don't that sun's going to be a big factor and if you're in the left-hand lane it's going to be a major disadvantage because I couldn't see the yellow lights last night. I just waited 'til they all lit. That's a problem. We should be done before that. Hopefully I'll be around to let the other guy have the problem."

Scelzi faces No. 16 qualifier Tim Wilkerson in the first round. The pair will play reverse roles tomorrow, as Wilkerson was No. 1 qualifier last week at Bandimere Speedway and Scelzi was No. 16. Scelzi lost to Wilkerson in that round.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson