SCELZI'S BACK, GOES TO SEMIS IN BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and defending event champion Gary Scelzi was feeling good today at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals...
SCELZI'S BACK, GOES TO SEMIS IN BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (April 30, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and defending event champion Gary Scelzi was feeling good today at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Despite a mechanical issue in his semifinal round loss against his teammate Ron Capps, Scelzi said the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T appears to be coming around after struggling in the season's first five events.
No. 4 qualifier Scelzi easily dismissed Tony Bartone in the opening round of Sunday's eliminations, with a solid 4.790-second pass at 325.45 mph. Another killer run of 4.778/323.35 in the quarterfinal disposed of Tommy Johnson Jr.
Scelzi seemed to be sailing along to his first final round until the aforesaid mechanical issue appeared in the semifinal round against Capps. Scelzi had the edge on reaction time (.066 to .070), but was forced to shut down early, posting a 5.731/196.04, as Capps soared to the finish line with a 4.821/318.47.
He moved up from 14th to 11th position in the Funny Car point standings.
"We finally got our race car back. If the air line wouldn't have snapped, that controls the clutch, there may have been a different story," he said. "We might have been talking about a win right now, but the Mopar/Oakley Dodge started repeating. It started doing everything that Zippy (crew chief Mike Neff) has wanted it to do and it obviously wasn't slowing down. The air line broke, the bearing never moved, it started knocking timing out of it, a buffet of disasters started happening after that and then Capps was driving away so hard I just shut it off.
"We know what happened; we're going to fix it so it won't happen again, but the car reacts and it's doing what it's supposed to do.
"We probably dug ourselves too deep a hole to come out of it (in the point standings), but we're not giving up. It looks like everything is starting to act normal. My lights are good and everything seems to going in the right direction."