Mopar Speed news 2004-11-15

Mopar Speed Monday, November 15, 2004 NHRA FC Scelzi wraps up the 2004 season third in points "It was a great year. Three wins, six final rounds. Mike [Neff, crew chief] is really coming into his own. This team has just been incredible. I'm ...

Mopar Speed
Monday, November 15, 2004

Scelzi wraps up the 2004 season third in points

"It was a great year. Three wins, six final rounds. Mike [Neff, crew chief] is really coming into his own. This team has just been incredible. I'm ready. We'll start testing here in the next couple of weeks and we'll get ready for next year."
    Gary Scelzi looks back on a successful 2004 season.

Gary Scelzi's final 2004 stats: Third in Funny Car championship in only his second full season in NHRA Funny Car competition; three wins, six final rounds, three runner-ups; six semifinal rounds, one No. 1 qualifier.

Gary Scelzi wrapped up his second full season in Funny Car racing by claiming third place in the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, behind John Force and Del Worsham respectively.

After Force clinched his 13th Funny Car crown in Las Vegas, the battle for second place between Scelzi and Worsham, who were tied in points, came down to the season finale last weekend at Pomona Raceway, in Pomona, Calif. Both drivers set identical qualifying times, with Worsham taking the number three spot due to speed and Scelzi being relegated to fourth. This gave Worsham a one-point edge going into eliminations.

Both drivers advanced to the semifinal round. Scelzi defeated Bob Bode and Tony Pedregon; Worsham took out Scelzi's teammate Johnny Gray and his own teammate Phil Burkart Jr.

Scelzi's win in the second round against Pedregon came from the less desirable right lane with a 4.802-second elapsed time. John Force's 4.764-second win against his teammate Eric Medlen earned him lane choice against Scelzi, and Scelzi found himself once again on the right side of the quarter-mile in the semis.

Despite having a 9-5 round win-loss record against Force and defeating him in all three of his season victories, including the last two events, Scelzi was ready for what he knew would be a tough match-up. Scelzi was first off the line with a .083 reaction time (.000 is perfect), while Force appeared to take a short nap before launching with a surprising .188. Unfortunately for Scelzi, his early edge went up in smoke at the hit and he coasted to a losing 7.729 et at 111.78 mph. Force claimed an easy triumph with a 4.728/323.97.

"I tell you what, Del and I fought a battle. I hope the fans enjoyed it because I've got to go throw up," said Scelzi at the top end, after losing to Force and acknowledging what a tough fight he'd had for second.

"He tried [to give it to me]," Scelzi said of Force's .188 reaction time. "John has a little trouble against me now and again and we enjoy that. It makes us proud that we can shake up the 13-time champion every now and then. But don't worry about John, he'll come back meaner and stronger than ever next year. So will we."

Whit Bazemore ended the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season taking the sixth position in Funny Car championship points. The driver of the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus collected two wins, three runner-up positions and three No. 1 qualifiers after leading the point standings through three events early in the season.

Bazemore, an Indianapolis resident and two-time U.S. Nationals champion, was looking to complete the year with a third victory at Pomona Raceway. Unfortunately, his hopes where dashed in the first round of eliminations when he lost to Tommy Johnson Jr. from the less-favorable right lane. Bazemore and Johnson launched with identical .074 reaction times, but Bazemore lost traction immediately and slowed to a 6.196-second finish at 208.55 mph to Johnson's winning 4.831/323.81.

"It's extremely frustrating, but that's racing. You have highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and everybody knows that and it's just part of the game," said Bazemore, who has finished twice as runner-up in the series and is still seeking his first Funny Car championship.

NHRA POWERade drag racing returns to Pomona Raceway February 10-13, 2005 to kick off the first race of the 2005 season.

Schumacher wins NHRA Top Fuel championship

Over the weekend, Tony Schumacher used awesome Hemi power to shoot his U.S. Army Dragster to a speed of 313.07 mph and an et of 4.550 to win the NHRA finals in the Top Fuel class. His win sets the record (at 10) for the most Top Fuel class wins in a single season. It also increased his overall career win total to 21. Schumacher, driver for Don Schumacher Racing, had already clinched the 2004 Top Fuel national championship at the series' event in Reading. Pa.

NHRA POWERade drag racing returns to Pomona Raceway February 10-13, 2005, to kick off the first race of the 2005 season.

"To win Indy, 10 races all together, the championship, and now the World Finals, that's so awesome for this team. This is something that as a kid you sit around and dream about it. Now we're here and the year is done, we're all safe, and we get two months to enjoy everything we've done."
    Tony Schumacher expresses excitement over his season accomplishments.

One race to go: Musgrave still in contention for title

"With the top three Dodges being up there [winning the first three spots], Dodge clinches the NCTS manufacturers championship, so that's pretty cool. That's one feather in our cap tonight, and now we're going to try and put a whole headdress on."
    Ted Musgrave gears up for the final race of the season next Sunday.

Ted Musgrave and the No. 1 Ultra Motorsports team played it smart to finish third in the Darlington 200 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday. After a Friday night washout, racing action resumed with Musgrave starting the event from the inside of row five in ninth position. He kept the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram in contention throughout the race, conserving rubber during a mid-race stretch to avoid using an unnecessary set of tires. The heads-up move allowed the team to utilize a final set of tires late in the race, keeping Musgrave at the head of the field.

Musgrave earned 165 points for his efforts, and as the series heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19 for the season finale, the No. 1 team is looking to rally from third in the series' points chase. Only 130 points behind series' leader Bobby Hamilton, Musgrave is still mathematically alive for the title. In last year's Homestead-Miami event, Musgrave finished in 13th position. The team enters this year's race with a sense of Deja vu, as they were also in contention for the series' championship in 2003.

"Third place was pretty good, because at the beginning of the race the truck wasn't really right," Musgrave said. "Sometimes you get it right, like last week, and sometimes you miss it, like tonight. But, there was just a lot of experience in our crew chief [Gene Nead], and the adjustments, making the right calls, when to pit, when not to pit, when to have tires on and when not to. Not only that, but just missing some of the wrecks that were just exactly right in front of me was the biggest thing, I think, to make it through."

Playing teammate to Musgrave for the weekend, driver Kasey Kahne picked up his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory in the No. 2 Ultra Motosports entry. Kahne's win marks the third time in the series' history that a driver has won in a first series start. The No. 2 team lead laps 112-150 en route to the victory, and Kahne became the seventh driver to win behind the wheel of an Ultra Motorsports truck.

Kahne's victory also wrapped up Dodge's third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturer's Championship. Dodge also won the manufacturer's title in 2001 and 2003. With Dodge having won 45 of the last 95 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events, Kahne's victory at Darlington solidified a clean sweep at the facility for the manufacturer in the past four years.

The final race of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season is scheduled for November 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Live coverage of the event will begin on the Motor Racing Network at 3 p.m. EST and on Speed Channel at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Mopars roar at Pomona Raceway

Larry Morgan powered the Mopar Dodge Stratus from Larry Morgan Racing to a speed of 204.91 with an et of .071 to beat Bruce Allen in the first round of eliminations last Sunday at Pomona Raceway, in Pomona, Calif. But his speed of 204.91 mph and et of 6.753 were just shy of winning over Mike Edwards in the second round of eliminations. The Nitrofish Wear Stratus driven by Kenny Koretsky, raced to 152.12 mph in the first round with an et of 7.189, but it was not enough to beat Rickie Smith.

NHRA POWERade drag racing returns to Pomona Raceway February 10-13, 2005 to kick off the first race of the 2005 season.

Mopar midget action continues this week

Dave Steele shoots for his fourth straight Turkey Night Grand Prix win.

Team Mopar's USAC National Midget Series competitors are gearing up for late-season action this week, as the series heads to Tucson Raceway Park and Irwindale Speedway on November 20 and November 25 respectively. Scheduled to compete in the season final's events are Nicholas Motorsports' Dave Steele and Kyle Nicholas, Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises' Josh Wise, and Wilke-PAK Motorsports' Tracy Hines. Other Team Mopar entries may be announced in the coming week.

The series will return to Tucson Raceway Park, in Tucson, Ariz. for the Old Pueblo Classic. The 3/8-mile paved oval has been a stop for the USAC National Midget Series for several years. Racing is slated to begin at 5 p.m. PST.

Concluding the 2004 USAC National Midget Series will be the 64th Annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale Speedway, in Irwindale, Calf. A prestigious race that has been run at several venues over the years, the event has found a home at the 1/2-mile paved oval. Steele will be looking for his fourth straight Turkey Night win, as the pavement specialist has swept the event since 2001. The 100-lap race is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. PST.


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Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Tony Stewart , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Larry Morgan , Ted Musgrave , Kyle Nicholas , Kasey Kahne , Bruce Allen , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Kenny Koretsky , Phil Burkart , Johnny Gray , Rickie Smith , Bob Bode , Josh Wise , Eric Medlen , Don Schumacher , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.