Baytown: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

Scelzi hangs on for 15th starting spot in Houston. Gary Scelzi was assured of having a starting position in tomorrow's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, after qualifying No. 12 on Friday with a ...

Scelzi hangs on for 15th starting spot in Houston.

Gary Scelzi was assured of having a starting position in tomorrow's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, after qualifying No. 12 on Friday with a 5.321/201.43, in a field of 17 Funny Cars. In today's two qualifying sessions he shook the tires early in the first run, coasting to a 7.658/105.74 pass in his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus R/T. After struggling all weekend, in the final qualifying session he and crew chief Mike Neff played the conservative game in order to get down the track, and Scelzi clicked the lights at at 4.936-second lap at 313.37 mph, the fastest speed of the session, taking the No. 15 spot.

"We just put everything back to normal," he said. "The run before we may have been just a little bit over center still, so we pulled it back. We got it down the race track; we just slid it down there. The track is hot; we weren't going to try to step it up; we just wanted to get it in the show. Now, Mike's got something to look at. He can look at the computer and say, OK, now I can touch it a little bit here, a little bit there. The car's going straight; we've got all the balance right; everything is good. It's just kind of like starting over. Unfortunately, it took us four runs to get here."

In the first round of eliminations tomorrow, Scelzi will meet his teammate Whit Bazemore for the first time this season, in the other team Dodge Stratus, the Matco Tools Iron Eagle entry. "We got Bazemore first round, which is going to be a difficult situation," said Scelzi. "But it's really a win-win situation for Schumacher Racing, no matter what happens. Bazemore's up third in points, but we're going to race him hard. We're just going to throw everything we've got at him, including the kitchen sink, because there's no loss here. We had trouble in qualifying. We've got to put it where we think it will run an .82, in that neighborhood, and go race Whit and see what happens. If we win, it's great for us and bad for Whit. If we lose, it's great for Whit and bad for us. Whit's my friend; whatever happens happens. I know it's going to be a good clean race, so there's no doubt about that."

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Mike Neff