Sonoma: Gary Scelzi final report

INFINEON RACEWAY WALL OF FAME INDUCTEE SCELZI IS OUSTED IN FIRST ROUND SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) - Local Fresno, Calif., native and Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Gary Scelzi was in the middle of a whirlwind this weekend at...

INFINEON RACEWAY WALL OF FAME INDUCTEE SCELZI IS OUSTED IN FIRST ROUND

SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2007) - Local Fresno, Calif., native and Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Gary Scelzi was in the middle of a whirlwind this weekend at his "home" track of Infineon Raceway.

Topping the week's festivities was his induction into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame. He is the third NHRA driver to be enshrined. He joined Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson (2005) and Funny Car driver John Force (2006) in the Wall of Fame, which was created in 2005. Other members of the Wall of Fame include Jeff Gordon, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin from NASCAR, as well as O. Bruton Smith, Chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns Infineon Raceway.

In pre-race ceremonies, 40-year-old Scelzi was a awarded a tricked-out walker to commemorate his so-called "retirement" (read hiatus) from the sport of NHRA drag racing at the end of the 2007 season. The bright red walker was aptly equipped with header pipes, spoilers, racing decals and numbers. Scelzi was stunned when this unique going-away gift was unveiled. Sons Dominic, 10, and Giovanni, 5, stared in confusion and awe while wondering what this contraption could possibly be...and where is the engine?

In his opening-round match-up over Gary Densham, No. 6 qualifier Scelzi lost traction at about 400 ft. on a tricky surface, coasting to the finish line in 5.765 seconds at 205.72 mph, while Densham scored the win with a 4.959/305.49. J"That run was actually identical to the qualifying round No. 3, and we slowed it down for qualifying round No. 4, and ran that great 4.92 yesterday," said Scelzi. "And we made it a little bit slower, and it looks identical. It just went out there about 400 ft. and just smoked the tires.

"The Mopar/Oakley Dodge was in the groove. It kind of shocked MIke (Neff, crew chief) and me both. I don't know what we could've done different. We weren't exactly tip-toeing, but we were definitely in the safe range. Nothing's wrong. We must have just misread the track a little bit. It was close, but it didn't quite cut it.

"We've got Brainerd (Minn.) and we've got Reading (Pa.) coming up (the last two events before the Countdown to the Championship kicks in for the top eight), so we need to really stay on top of our game, because if these guys behind us (in the points) get hot, we could be in trouble.

Scelzi holds on to No. 6 in Funny Car points, 43 points shy of third.

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Warren Johnson , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Mark Martin