St. Louis: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI SAVORS PAST SUCCESS AT GATEWAY FRESNO, Calif. (April 30, 2008) - Four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi is the all-around winningest driver at Gateway International Raceway, with three Top Fuel victories (2000, 1999, 1998) and one Funny Car...

SCELZI SAVORS PAST SUCCESS AT GATEWAY

FRESNO, Calif. (April 30, 2008) - Four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi is the all-around winningest driver at Gateway International Raceway, with three Top Fuel victories (2000, 1999, 1998) and one Funny Car title (2004). He also holds the Funny Car elapsed-time track record of 4.724 seconds, set in 2004. He's also been low qualifier at Gateway five times!

So, you can understand why the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car is looking forward to this weekend's NHRA Midwest Nationals, the seventh round of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. After a tough start to the 2008 season, in which his best results were two quarterfinal finishes, "Wild Thing" is aching to get to a track where he's enjoyed past rewards.

"I think now the timing is absolutely perfect to go to Gateway," said Scelzi, of the track located just over the bridge from St. Louis, Mo., in Madison, Ill. "With the beginning of the season that we've had, we need to go to a place that I've had success at.

"Sometimes no matter what happens during a season you find yourself at certain places, for whatever reason, that you just do well at. We did extremely well at Gateway with Alan Johnson (his crew chief when he won Top Fuel there), we did well with Mike Neff (his former Funny Car crew chief) and we hope now that (current crew chief) Todd Okuhara and Gary Scelzi and the Mopar team can make something happen here.

"We know we've got a good car, we know that we're so close to making something happen, and it just hasn't happened yet. And it really needs to. We need it for all of us. So, I'm excited. I'm leaving Thursday morning early. We have a big dirt race going on at Tri-City Speedway that night that should be fun. I've never driven a Modified. I've driven dirt Late Models, but I've never driven a Modified, but I think they're pretty similar.

"I like racing on dirt. I finished second to Doug Kalitta on the Bull Ring in Vegas with the Thunder Roadsters. I consider that a win because Doug is a USAC champion. Now we've got Cappsie (teammate Ron Capps) and me and all those other NHRA guys racing at Tri-City. So, our plan is for Capps and me to go one-two and it doesn't matter who's first and who's second. But we want to beat Doug and we want to beat the rest of these guys. Because Capps and I do this stuff pretty often. Capps has driven a Modified. He does the Prelude to the Dream ad he does a good job there.

"We've also got Cruz Pedregon, and he has raced a midget at the Chili Bowl with me and he also does the Prelude. It's going to be fun. I am really, really looking forward to it and I hope the fans are too. Because it's something different, it's relaxing, big bragging rights, and I understand there's a huge trophy. I'd love to put that in the old Monaco motor home and bring it back to California."

-credit: dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Cruz Pedregon , Mike Neff