Topeka: Gary Scelzi final report

SCELZI RUNS STRONG TO SEMIFINAL FINISH IN TOPEKA TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) - Gary Scelzi had a strong, solid weekend at the NHRA Summer Nationals driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his first semifinal finish of the 2008...

SCELZI RUNS STRONG TO SEMIFINAL FINISH IN TOPEKA

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2008) - Gary Scelzi had a strong, solid weekend at the NHRA Summer Nationals driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to his first semifinal finish of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

No. 10 qualifier Scelzi saw his round-winning streak end when he and opponent Tim Wilkerson had a pedalfest down Heartland Park Topeka's quarter-mile. With track temperatures reaching 130 degrees, Scelzi took off with a stellar reaction time of .056 to Wilkerson's .080 (.000 is perfect), then struck the tires first, while Wilkerson hazed his later. As both scrambled to regain traction, Scelzi recovered, but the finish line came too soon as Wilkerson claimed the win with a 6.009/194.32 to Scelzi's 6.138/210.70. Margin of victory: .1051 of a second.

En route to the semifinal, Scelzi defeated Robert Hight with a 4.927/305.70 and Bob Tasca III with a 4.997/298.14.

"We're absolutely happy," said the four-time NHRA champion. "Let me tell you, we needed a semifinal. We needed to go some rounds and you could just tell after we won first round that this team lit up. And so did I.

"We know we've had a good race car, we've just had stupid things happen. The hotter it gets the better we are. We just missed qualifying in the top half of the field in the Friday night run. We only missed it by less than three hundredths (of a second).

"So, things are getting better. It was just one of those things. We just missed a little bit there in the semis, but, hey, we'll get these guys and I feel good about our chances for the rest of the year."

Scelzi is just 30 points out of the top 10, where he'll need to be following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend in order to compete in the Countdown to the Championship.

"I'm liking that," he said. "That's a big thing. Our first goal is to get into the top 10 and to try to win a race, and that's the plan. That's what we're after."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi , Tim Wilkerson , Robert Hight , Bob Tasca III