SCELZI SET TO MAKE MOVE IN SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 25, 2006) - Defending Sonoma Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi is set to complete the Western Swing of the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at this weekend's Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals...
SCELZI SET TO MAKE MOVE IN SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 25, 2006) - Defending Sonoma Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi is set to complete the Western Swing of the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series at this weekend's Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway by making a strong move back up into the Funny Car point standings.
The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T and reigning Funny Car champion is just one point out of fifth (Eric Medlen) and 45 short of third place (Robert Hight). And, even though he's 295 points behind leader and teammate Ron Capps, he's not counting out being in the points chase as the season winds down.
The Fresno, Calif., native has come out a-blazing in the last five races, scoring two semifinal finishes, one runner-up and his first victory of the season, while also beating second-in-points John Force (Scelzi is 207 points behind him) in the last two events.
Infineon Raceway is Scelzi's home track and, although the three-time Top Fuel champion has never won in that class here, he boasts two Funny Car titles here in the last three years, including his first class triumph in 2003.
While he was hoping to achieve a Western Swing sweep after winning in Denver, he's not deterred by losing to his teammate Ron Capps in the second round in Seattle.
"We'll just throw Seattle out," he says. "We had a good round against Force, even though we lost against Capps. That race track is kind of like Denver; you just hope to get out of there with your skin.
"Infineon Raceway in Sonoma has a good surface. Even if it's hot, it's easier to control your race car. And that's what I like about Sonoma. Even though the temperatures may be in the 100-degree range the surface is still a good surface. And it's equal both lanes. It's not a one-lane race track. The asphalt is good, the concrete is good and then we've also got that Friday night run, when the ocean air comes in. Even if it's hot, it's going to cool down enough to where we could run some pretty good runs.
"I think we still have a great race car. I still think we can make a chase out of this thing and that's what we're going to Sonoma to do."
As for his 11-8 round-win and 3-1 final-round record over 13-time champion Force, "Well, I think it's a good record," he says. "Like I've said, I don't like to brag about something like that because I really believe that if you race John Force enough he's going to have the upper hand on you. But right now, (crew chief) Mike Neff is on his game and he seems to do really well against guys like John. I can't help but get up for him because of who he is. He's 'the man.' I don't care whether he's on a losing streak, a winning streak, whatever, when you pull up next to John Force you'd better have your A-game or you're going home."