Brainerd: Gary Scelzi Friday summary

Scelzi rockets to no. 1 on Friday evening BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2003) - Gary Scelzi piloted his Oakley Dodge Stratus rocketship to No. 1 this evening, posting a 4.940-second elapsed time at 311.63 mph for the fastest and quickest run of the...

Scelzi rockets to no. 1 on Friday evening

BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 15, 2003) - Gary Scelzi piloted his Oakley Dodge Stratus rocketship to No. 1 this evening, posting a 4.940-second elapsed time at 311.63 mph for the fastest and quickest run of the day. He squeezed out John Force, who was low qualifier before Scelzi's run (4.944/310.84). Force in turn had outqualified Scelzi's teammate Whit Bazemore, who had pulled off the first under-5-second run in this second session (4.952/310.84).

This stout run came on new pavement that some competitors felt was questionable following today's first round, where most of the Funny Cars struggled.

"I was really concerned about it because of the oil seepage coming out of the asphalt," said Scelzi, "but NHRA washed it with Tide. They washed it again before the pro session to cool it down. It's just a matter of curing. It's still new and fresh and it's green and it needs to get some rubber on it to seal it. It's a real tight asphalt so it's going to be really good. The key to this whole thing is it's smooth, so the big Goodyears can stick. You get full contact patches, as they say in the tire business. You've still got to be real careful because the temperatures are high, but you have to be careful anyway, even if it was all concrete. When the track gets in the 125-degree range it gets slippery. We have to adjust for it, but a lot of cars made it down the race track so I was a doubter, I'm not going to lie to you. I say when I'm wrong, and I was wrong. The race track is going to be plenty good."

Scelzi, however, was somewhat surprised that he qualified No. 1. "I didn't know it was going to be a good run, I just knew we'd run good enough to get in," he added, "and when I saw Bazemore went .95 I thought, well, it's not that bad. I figured we'd run a .95 to a 5-flat, somewhere in that range, but I didn't know what Mike (Neff, crew chief) had up his sleeve, and right before we ran he reached in the box and he turned something and I don't think he slowed it down, I think he sped it up just a little bit."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , John Force , Gary Scelzi