SCELZI OUT IN FIRST ROUND AGAINST TEAMMATE BAZEMORE IN HOUSTON BAYTOWN, Texas (April 10, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car, was ousted by his teammate Whit Bazemore in the first round of eliminations at the...
SCELZI OUT IN FIRST ROUND AGAINST TEAMMATE BAZEMORE IN HOUSTON
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 10, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car, was ousted by his teammate Whit Bazemore in the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway today.
It wasn't what was expected, as Bazemore's Matco Tools team struggled during qualifying to make it into the 12th spot, while Scelzi posted two out of four excellent qualifying runs for No. 5 and arguably had the stronger car for the warm, humid conditions at sea level.
Bazemore's deep staging resulted in a first-off-the-line .064 (of a second) reaction time, while Scelzi staged shallow for a .114 reaction time, just enough of a margin to allow Bazemore to take the win on a holeshot advantage with a 4.842/317.34 to Scelzi's quicker but losing 4.795/323.19. The margin of victory was a scant .0033 of a second - about 19 inches.
"The Mopar/Oakley Dodge ran great. My lights (reaction times) have been .10 something to .15 in qualifying because I race in qualifying," explained Scelzi. "I had a .114 here, that's my deal when I go in thin. We were going for lane choice against John Force in the next round." (Deep-staging results in a slower ET. The quicker ET gets lane choice.)
"Bazemore rolled it in, which I think wasn't a very smart move, because he lost lane choice to Force," he continued. "Baze was probably quicker than I was on the starting line, but lane choice could have been critical against Force in the next round." (Note: Bazemore lost to Force in the second round.)
"Hey, he beat me, so it goes down as a holeshot and that's the way it's going to be.
"In qualifying I had a .105, .183 at night, a .109 and a .126, because I race in qualifying. In qualifying Baze had a .142, .136, .109 and .126. And I'm pretty sure that Baze races in qualifying also. He had a good light in that round. Mine wasn't a terrible light.
"I'm not making excuses, I'm not upsset other than I lost, because that was about my average light, going in thin. I could have rolled it in and given myself an .080 light and the car would have run a 4.82, but I wanted lane choice against Force (whose first-round winning ET was 4.825). That was critical. Anytime you can have any advantage at all, whether it matters or not psychologically against your opponent, it means something. And that's what we were going for."
Scelzi is now 10th in points, 107 behind leader John Force, and 93 behind second-place Bazemore.
Next up is the NHRA Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas April 14-17.