SCELZI ZIPS INTO NO. 14 IN CONCORD QUALIFYING CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2008) - Qualifying No. 14 may not be a barn-burning performance, but Gary Scelzi, driving the new Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas ...
SCELZI ZIPS INTO NO. 14 IN CONCORD QUALIFYING
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2008) - Qualifying No. 14 may not be a barn-burning performance, but Gary Scelzi, driving the new Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car at the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMax Dragway, is happy to brag about it.
After struggling through most of the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Scelzi is flying high after debuting a new chassis for this weekend's inaugural event at a super dragway, sharing technology among his Don Schumacher Racing teammates, and producing a series of solid passes to earn him a place in the 16-car field.
His string of qualifying runs include a 4.219/292.33 (No. 14), a 4.123/301.67 (his quickest and No. 12 at the time), a 4.162/296.57 (No. 14) and finally a 4.162/297.68.
"It's amazing," said Scelzi, who did not qualify for the last two events and is not in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. "The Jack Beckman combination, Ron Capps combination, the new Murf McKinney car, altogether are a great package. I don't think we've made four runs in a row all year long. And (regular tuner) Todd (Okuhara, who has been recuperating from an inner-ear infection) is back healthy and he's helping Richard Hogan (who stepped in for Okuhara) and it's the best car I've had all year long.
"I know we're qualified only 14th, but it's consistent, I think it's going to be quick enough, it'll go down the race track in the heat, and if we have just a little bit of luck on our side, we could do a lot of damage tomorrow. And that's what I'm hoping for."
As for his thoughts on this new race track: "This place is just phenomenal," he said. "Where else can you go down the race track and run this quick on a 128-degree race track? Bruton (Smith, track owner) and these guys have done their homework. They're just phenomenal. It's really no surprise to me. I'm in awe. It says a lot for NHRA and it says a lot for Bruton. I hope the rest of the tracks follow, or try to, because I don't think they can keep up."
Scelzi faces Del Worsham in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations on Sunday.