Troy Critchley gets help from Gary Scelzi

LEESBURG, Va. (June 14, 2000) -- International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) elapsed time world record-holder, Troy Critchley, driver of Johnny Rocca's USA Racing Team's Prolong Super Lubricants/Somerset Refinery, Inc.-sponsored '49 Mercury...

LEESBURG, Va. (June 14, 2000) -- International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) elapsed time world record-holder, Troy Critchley, driver of Johnny Rocca's USA Racing Team's Prolong Super Lubricants/Somerset Refinery, Inc.-sponsored '49 Mercury "Ironhorse" Pro Modified, got a recent boost from one of the National Hot Rod Association's (NHRA) record-holding top stars. Australian-born Critchley, 28, who steered Rocca's crowd-pleasing entry to the team's first-ever IHRA national event final round two weeks ago during the Mopar Parts Canadian Nationals in Grand Bend, Ontario, received a surprise phone call from two-time NHRA Top Fuel world champ, Gary Scelzi, as the "Ironhorse" team prepared for this weekend's IHRA/Amalie Oil Summer Nationals, in Cordova, Ill. Scelzi, the current point leader and holder of the NHRA premier division's elapsed time world record (4.480-seconds), was contacted by a mutual friend of Scelzi and Rocca, regarding Critchley's starting line reactions, which have fallen off the talented driver's past consistent performances. "I received a call from Scelzi literally out of the blue, and was quite surprised," said Critchley of the exchange. "He was extremely nice, very helpful, and related a similar slump that he went through earlier in his career. "He said, 'I've had the same thing happen to me, where I was almost ready to jump off a building,'" related Critchley, with a laugh. "I told him, don't say that, because you're talking to me right now on a cell phone - and I just happen to be near the top of a building myself." As the two conversed, it became obvious to Scelzi that several things needed to happen, both mechanically to the racecar, and to assist Critchley's physical reaction response times. The result has been a rearrangement of pedals and related cockpit and drivetrain items. Likewise, Critchley has spent much time practicing his reaction times with the aid of a Christmas tree timing device, which has been hooked up to the actual racecar in a simulated setting. "We've softened up the clutch pedal considerably, rearranged several other items in the car, plus my reaction times have shown much promise," continued Critchley, who currently holds the IHRA elapsed time mark in Pro Modified at 6.227-seconds. "I can't say enough about Scelzi, who truly has my admiration as not only a top-notch driver, but also as a person willing to help a fellow competitor - regardless of the racing organization he's associated with," said car-owner, crew chief and former standout driver, Johnny Rocca. Both Rocca and Critchley, currently eighth in the 12-race IHRA points battle, will get their chance to demonstrate the "Ironhorse" Pro Modified '49 Mercury's potential during this weekend's Amalie Oil Summer Nationals, scheduled for June 16-18 at Cordova Dragway Park, in Cordova, Ill. The Summer Nationals is the fourth national event in the million-dollar IHRA Summit Drag Racing Series, and will be televised throughout the United States on Sunday, August 27 at 10:30 (E.T.) as part of the TNN's 12 week IHRA coverage.

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Series Drag , NHRA
Drivers Johnny Rocca , Gary Scelzi , Troy Critchley