NO PRESSURE IN BRAINERD, SCELZI SAYS FRESNO, Calif. (Aug. 5, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi says he's coming into this weekend's 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway under...
NO PRESSURE IN BRAINERD, SCELZI SAYS
FRESNO, Calif. (Aug. 5, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi says he's coming into this weekend's 27th annual NHRA Nationals at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway under no pressure, as far as the Countdown to the Championship is concerned.
Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, and with only three events remaining before the Countdown to the Championship playoffs for the top 10 begin following the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend, Scelzi finds himself No. 13 in the standings, 77 points out of a berth to vie for his second Funny Car crown.
The Fresno, Calif., native knows he and the Mopar/Oakley team must win rounds this weekend if there's any chance for them to move into the top 10. He's decided to approach it in a more relaxed manner than one would expect.
"Well, it's our one-year anniversary since (crew chief) Todd Okuhara took over the helm of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge team," said Scelzi, the 1998 Top Fuel winner in Brainerd, No. 1 qualifier in 1999 (TF) and 2003 (FC), and FC runner-up in 2004 and 2006. "And we're excited about that. The Brainerd race was Todd's first race with us last year, we made it to the semifinals and had a real good shot at winning the race.
"So, I'm putting the Countdown on the backburner. To be honest with you, I don't want to put any more pressure on us than we've already got. We know it's there, we know we need to do well, but the main thing we need to do is go there and qualify in the top half of the field and go some rounds. And that's all we're looking at.
"Getting into the Countdown would be great, but we've had a lot of fumbles this year, we've had some chances to make some moves, and nothing happened. So, we're just going to do all we need to do and try to execute. If it works, great; if it doesn't, then it's not meant to be.
"We're going into Brainerd with no pressure. Hopefully, Todd will make the right calls, I will do my job driving, and I know the Mopar/Oakley Dodge crew is always on top of things. I don't worry about them at all. We'll just see what happens."