Sonoma: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI SAYS HE'S MUM ON FUNNY CAR TITLE CHASE TALK SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2005) - In the midst of a close battle for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship and stalled in third place after two first-round losses in the...

SCELZI SAYS HE'S MUM ON FUNNY CAR TITLE CHASE TALK

SONOMA, Calif. (July 29, 2005) - In the midst of a close battle for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship and stalled in third place after two first-round losses in the last three races while the man everyone wants to beat, John Force, has exited in the opening round in four of the last five races, Gary Scelzi says he doesn't want to talk about the championship anymore.

The three-time Top Fuel champion who is looking for his first Funny Car crown is frustrated that he and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car team haven't been able to take advantage of Force's stumbles and move closer to, if not into, the lead. Meanwhile, Force's teammate Robert Hight has taken over the top spot after winning in Denver and taking runner-up in Seattle.

"I'm not talking bout the championship anymore," Scelzi says as he gears up for the last event of the Western Swing this weekend, the Fram-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway. "I'm done talking about the championship. The championship ain't going to be talked about until Pomona. That's where I am at with it.

"I've been coaxed into talking about the championship even when I know better. This thing is 23 races long and the more I talk about it the dumber I look, and that's not hard for me to do. So I'm done talking about it."

But then he relented and commented on what it's going to take to win for the rest of the season: "We just have to go do our normal stuff. The same thing as every race. We have to qualify well, we have to go down the race track and I can't make a mistake driving, the car can't make a mistake, and maybe we need to have a little luck along the way. That wouldn't hurt us at all. That's what we have to do.

"We've got a good race car. I think we have one of the best tuners out here (Mike Neff), and we have the best crew. We just have to go and execute. We need to get around Force when he has these first-round bobbles, and we can't let Robert Hight continue to win rounds.

"Otherwise, in another few races, Hight is going to have this thing done. And that's not what we're after. We want to be the world champion. We're going to do whatever we can, but it's in fate's hands. We can only do what we can do."

Scelzi won his first Fuel Funny Car race in Sonoma, in 2003, and was No. 1 qualifier here in 2000. He'd like to be only the second NHRA driver to have won championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Kenny Bernstein is the first.

In Funny Car points, Scelzi is in third, just 11 points behind Force and 95 points short of first-place Hight. He's also 50 points ahead of his teammate Ron Capps, in fourth place.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Robert Hight , Mike Neff