Mopar Speed Monday, May 23, 2005 NHRA FC Scelzi Blasts from Fifth to Second in the Points Gary Scelzi had a renewed air of confidence after qualifying the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car No. 6 for the NHRA Nationals at National Trail ...
Monday, May 23, 2005
Scelzi Blasts from Fifth to Second in the Points
Gary Scelzi had a renewed air of confidence after qualifying the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car No. 6 for the NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway, in Columbus, Ohio.
After struggling to get into the field in the first two attempts, the 4.833-second elapsed time at 320.13 mph he posted in the third session was the third quickest of the round and placed him solidly into the final eliminations.
"I was nervous about not qualifying early on,because this is a different [vehicle setup] combination that we're running," Scelzi said before the elimination rounds. "It's something new that we tried in Vegas that we hadn't been able to run as of yet because of the weather and Mike [Neff, crew chief] made the commitment to run it. And it's looking good."
Looking good and performing great, Scelzi reached the final round for the second time this year (48th time of his career), winning two of the three advancing races in the right lane most drivers with lane choice avoided. Scelzi beat brothers Tony and Cruz Pedregon, as well as rookie Robert Hight, to move from fifth to second place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Points. He now stands at 80 points, or four rounds, behind series leader John Force, to whom he narrowly lost in the final round on Sunday.
Even without lane choice, the entire day of final eliminations for the NHRA Nationals at National Trail Raceway, Ron Capps and the Brut Dodge Funny Car team demonstrated that consistency can take you a long way in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' Funny Car class.
No. 12 qualifier Capps first disposed of Phil Burkart Jr., in a very tight match by .0263 of a second, with a 4.862/318.92 pass to Burkart's losing 4.887/318.69. Eric Medlen was his next victim in the second round, when Capps outperformed the John Force teammate both at the starting light (.080 to .127) and on the track with a 4.814/322.04 to Medlen's wobbly 4.862/321.04.
The semifinal round against John Force, however, was Capps' denouement. Another consistent 4.826/320.20 lap was no match for the 13-time champion's stellar 4.773/323.50 pass. Capps had him at the starting line (.075 to .103), but didn't have enough to beat him at the finish line and lost by just 12 feet.
"Considering how the weekend went for us Friday and Saturday in qualifying, today was a typical [crew chief] Ed McCulloch day for us," Capps said. "We struggled a little bit in qualifying, but when it comes to race day, I don't care where I'm at in the show. When I've got [co-crew chief Dan] Olson and McCulloch standing in front of me first round I feel like we can win at any time."
The Carlsbad, Calif., resident moves into sixth in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points; 60 points behind his teammate Whit Bazemore in fifth.
Whit Bazemore went against all odds in qualifying over the weekend by claiming the No. 1 spot and setting a track record in qualifying with the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus, while the rest of the Funny Car and Top Fuel cars struggled to get down the track. The feat marked Bazemore's first No. 1 of the year and his 29th of his career.
After Bazemore's impressive run during qualifying, where he established a track record elapsed time of 4.762 seconds, Bazemore and the Lee Beard-tuned Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team were hopeful for a return to the No. 1 spot in the standings. But his 4.924/315.34 loss to No. 16 qualifier Dale Creasy Jr.'s 4.904/311.99 pass dashed those hopes.
"Anybody can win any given race and it's been done many, many times," said Bazemore, who is now fifth in the rankings, yet still very much in the points chase. "The way I look at it is when our Matco Tools Dodge doesn't run within a couple of hundredths [of a second] of the other car, I should make up the difference; today we didn't do that.
Next up is this weekend's O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan., May 27-29.
Stevens Powers into the Quarter Finals in Ohio
With a drive into the quarterfinal round over the weekend, Richie Stevens Jr. moved into seventh place in the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock division standings.
Stevens, in the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T from Don Schumacher Racing, dismissed fellow Dodge driver V. Gaines in the first round at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio (6.766/204.08 vs. 6.796/203.00), but failed to earn lane choice against Kurt Johnson for the second round.
The New Orleans native had the edge over K.J. at the starting line, launching .030 of a second quicker than his opponent. It looked good for Stevens at half-track, but Johnson drove around him at the finish, winning the round with a 6.750/204.42 pass to Stevens' losing 6.792/203.61. Margin of victory: .0127 of a second.
"I left on him, but it just wasn't enough," said Stevens. "A .35 to his .62. It looked like enough halfway down the track, but then he started pulling away on the top end and went around me. It was close. But it wasn't close in my favor. We had a good day. We qualified well [No. 7] and went to the second round. We stayed alive in points and even moved up a spot."
Jeg Coughlin Jr., qualified the Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T No. 9 in Columbus, Ohio, but lost to Greg Anderson in the first round with an et of 6.792 and a speed of 204.05 mph to Andersons 6.744 et and 204.17 mph.
Allen Johnson qualified the J and J Dodge Stratus R/T No. 16 at National Trail Raceway, then was eliminated in the first round by No. 1 qualifier and series points leader Warren Johnson.
The NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Drag Racing Series moves on to Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan., for the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals May 27-29.
Musgrave Takes Third; Charges to First Place
"The Mopar Dodge came from way back and I'm proud of the guys the way
they worked here. Coming out of here [first] in points, that's
big-picture racing ... We're running good, and we're getting better and
better. We've just got to keep working hard and keep the luck on our
&Ted Musgrave, once again first in the series' point standings.
Ted Musgrave and the No. 1 Ultra Motorsports team may not have won the battle last Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., but the team's solid performance handed them the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship points lead -- a sure sign that they're on the way to winning the war. The No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram team performed flawlessly in the race to earn a third-place finish and leave the track with a 41 point lead in the championship chase.
Musgrave qualified the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram in 12th position on Thursday, after drawing the 38th qualifying spot. The track temperature dropped almost 20 degrees during qualifying, giving the No. 1 team another obstacle to overcome.
With rain threatening, Musgrave wasted little time advancing from his starting spot, as he battled his way to sixth in the early laps of the race. The No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram then encountered handling issues, as Musgrave held on through the midsection of the race, falling back to 21st on lap 70.
As the laps passed, Musgrave and his team worked diligently to move to the front of the field. By lap 130 Musgrave had worked his way to third position. A series of late race cautions laid out a tight finish, as Musgrave pressured second-place contender Terry Cook heavily in the final laps.
Musgrave and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will take a break from action over Memorial Day Weekend. They will resume action at the Dover International Speedway with the MNBA RacePoints 200 on June 3.
Lasoski Heats up the Commonwealth Clash
Danny Lasoski and the No. 20 Tony Stewart Motorsports team continued to soldier on in World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series competition over the weekend as they earned a top-10 finish and a pair of heat race wins in Lernerville Speedway's Commonwealth Clash. "The Dude" battled back from a 21st qualifying position on Friday night to win the fourth heat and bring the No. 20 machine home to an 11th-place finish in the A-main. He also won the second heat in Saturday night's finale to lock himself into the A-main event, where he finished 10th.
Forbrook Motorsport's Sammy Swindell rejoined the World of Outlaws Sprint Series over the weekend, as the No. 5 team wasted little time in familiarizing themselves with the competition. Swindell qualified sixth and finished fifth in the first dash event to lock into the A-main event. The No. 5 team earned a fifth-place finish in Friday's preliminary A-main event. On Saturday night, Swindell drove the No. 5 to the front of the field to earn a third-place finish in the A-main finale.
Brandon Wimmer also fared well over the weekend, as he drove the No. 7 Wimmer-Luck Motorsports entry to a second quick qualifying effort on Saturday night. Wimmer earned 18th- and 17th-place finishes on the weekend.
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series will kick off its first true long run of the season this week, as the series makes stops at Grandview Speedway on May 24, Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on May 26-27 and Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Md. on May 28. Lasoski is currently sixth in points, while part-time series competitor Swindell is ranked 19th. Wimmer is currently 18th in series points.
Francis Finishes Twice in the Top Ten Over the Weekend
Steve Francis proved why his nickname is "The Kentucky Colonel" in World of Outlaws Late Model Series competition over the weekend. Fighting through mechanical and accident battles, Francis managed to come out of the fray with third-place and tenth-place finishes.
On Friday at the Brushcreek Speedway in Peebles, Ohio, Francis and the No. 15 team encountered fuel pressure problems from the start. They qualified 20th and finished fifth in their heat race to force them to run the B-main event. Francis drove the No. 15 to the front of the field to get the B-main victory and earn the 18th starting position for the A-main. He wasted little time getting to the front of the A-main event, as he brought the No. 15 home to a third-place finish.
On Saturday night, the team traveled to Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Ind. After brushing the wall in his heat race, Francis held on to transfer to the A-main event. Battling rear-end damage, Francis nursed the No. 15 machine to a 10th-place finish in the A-main event.
The World of Outlaws Late Model Series will take a brief break in action, but will resume action on June 1 at Farley Speedway in Farely, Iowa.
Beauchamp Jr. Wins First CASCAR Race of the Year
No. 60 Mopar Parts/Exide Dodge Charger driver, Ron Beauchamp Jr. won the first Canadian Association for Stock Car Racing (CASCAR) Super Series race of the season, in London, Ontario, Canada, on Sunday May 22. Beauchamp rallied from back to front of the aptly named Mopar 250 at Delaware Speedway, as he was forced to start last in the 30-car field after the nose of his car was judged to be too low following Saturday's time trials.
However, the dead-last starting position proved to be no match for Mopar-power, as Beauchamp quickly began working his way through the field on the half-mile oval track, reaching sixth place by the time he pitted at lap 100. The Windsor, Ontario, native and employee of DaimlerChrysler Canada at the Windsor Assembly Plant, charged up to fourth by the halfway point in the race and took the lead from leader Dave Whitlock at lap 144.
"I knew we had a good car," said Beauchamp Jr. "I was worried about wrecks with us being so far back for the start. But the car was so good that I knew if I was patient, we had a chance. The only trouble I had all day was on restarts for a few laps, but then it just took off."
The CASCAR Super Series travels next to Autodrome St. Eustache in St. Eustache, Quebec, Canada, on June 4. For more information about Ron Beauchamp Jr. or the CASCAR Super Series, log on to beauchampmotorsports.com or cascar.ca.