TOPEKA, Kan. -- Gary Scelzi finally broke through the logjam of history. On Sunday Scelzi scored his seventh NHRA Winston Drag Racing Top Fuel victory of the season in the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Nine Top Fuel ...
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Gary Scelzi finally broke through the logjam of history. On Sunday Scelzi scored his seventh NHRA Winston Drag Racing Top Fuel victory of the season in the Advance Auto Parts Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
Nine Top Fuel drivers had previously scored six wins in a season: Don Garlits, Darrell Gwynn, Gary Ormsby, Joe Amato, Eddie Hill, Scott Kalitta, Cory McClenathan, and Scelzi. Only Ormsby, McClenathan, and Scelzi (twice) had repeated the feat. Now Scelzi is alone in the record books.
"To accomplish anything in your career that compares with the guys on that list of six-time winners is really something," said Scelzi, who earned win No. 6 at Seattle in July. "To pass the mark up is unbelievable. I especially like the fact we got it done here in Topeka on the same track where I had one of my wildest weekends ever (wrecking two cars last year)."
That something extra came from the Alan Johnson team and the Goodyear Eagles they prefer. Scelzi win was the second NHRA Top Fuel win Goodyear's new D1230 tire, introduced three races ago at Englishtown, N.J. (Joe Amato won at Reading on the D1230.) As top qualifier, Scelzi put away Luigi Novelli, Bob Vandergriff and Cory McClenathan in the early rounds, then used his holeshot advantage over Doug Kalitta to claim the win, 4.672 seconds and 303.64 mph to Kalitta's 4.676 and 303.16mph.
"Breaking this record, I guess because it's such a unique deal, compares right up there with my first professional win or even the first championship. It was so hard to do. Staying perfect in the final rounds is almost impossible and we proved that it took something extra to get it done."
Speaking of broken records, John Force continued to add to his legend. The NHRA's all-time winningest driver became the first driver to score 90 career wins, defeating Ron Capps. Force jetted down the track in 4.933 seconds at 291.82 mph, while Capps went up in smoke just past the start line. Force's win also moved him 272 points ahead of Jerry Toliver in the run for the title.
While the two nitro classes remain close, Jeg Coughlin Jr. can secure the Pro Stock championship at Memphis next week, thanks to his ninth win of the year. Coughlin came from behind to nip Darrell Alderman at the line. Other Goodyear wins came to birthday boy Bob Panela in Pro Stock Truck, David Rampy in Competition Eliminator and Dwight Downing in Super Street.
Goodyear-equipped drivers collected nine more trophies at the International Hot Rod Association's President's Cup at Budd Creek, Md. Pro category wins came to Steve Vick in Pro Modified, Jay Turner in Nitro Harley, Billy Gibson in Funny Car, Tom Lee in Pro Stock and Laurie Cannister in Pro Outlaw.
Frank Gugliotta in Top Sportsman, Dave Trapletti in Top Dragster, Dennis Mitchell in Modified and Mike Adams in Stock delivered Sportsman wins.
On the dirt tracks, it was a clean sweep for Goodyear racers in Pennzoil World of Outlaws competition. The week started with Stevie Smith taking the checkers at Lernerville, Pa., and promptly running out of fuel on the cool down lap. Sammy Swindell nearly swept the Lernerville races in 2000, but settled for second in the finale, with Mark Kinser finishing third.
Two nights later at Hagerstown, Md., it was Swindell's turn to take the flag first, but this time he coasted to the finish line after running out of fuel. Smith chased Sammy to the flag, followed by Goodyear racers Dale Blaney and Johnny Herrera. Mark Kinser and Donny Schatz finished in sixth and seventh.
Schatz had been knocking at the door all year long, and the door was finally opened in Saturday night's Williams Grove Open "A" Feature in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Victory finally came his way at Williams Grove, where he held off local driver Chris Eash to claim the $25,000 prize. Johnny Herrera finished third.
Kenny Jacobs gave Goodyear another win in the Gumout Racing Series at Beaver Dam, Wis. Jacobs and polesitter Shane Stewart exchanged the lead several times until Stewart spun in traffic on lap 29. Several drivers challenged the leader over the final nine laps, but Jacobs held the position for the win.
Matt Crafton continued to expand his points lead in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series. The Goodyear-equipped driver finished third in Saturday's Snap-On 100 at Altamont Speedway in California behind Mark Reed and fellow Goodyear driver M.K. Kanke, who won the pole. Eric Holmes was leading the race on his Goodyear Eagles when he spun three laps from the end of the race.
The three Goodyear cars put in a good performance in the NASCAR Slim Jim All-Pro Series event at Nashville, Tenn. Scott Carlson won the pole on Goodyear tires, then led the first 121 laps before pitting for fuel and tires, giving the lead to Eddie Hoffman, who had pitted earlier. Carlson teamed up with fellow Goodyear racer Scott Hansen as they tried to make their way back to the front. Hansen eventually finished third with Carlson one spot back. Carlson will have another chance next month in the SJAPS finale at Nashville.