Columbus Dean Skuza interview (Funny Car)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 SKUZA REGAINS STRONG FORM IN FUNNY CAR ENTERING HOME RACE HEBRON, Ohio -- One of the biggest confidence-builders this season for Dean Skuza came during a Funny Car run...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

SKUZA REGAINS STRONG FORM IN FUNNY CAR ENTERING HOME RACE HEBRON, Ohio -- One of the biggest confidence-builders this season for Dean Skuza came during a Funny Car run that didn't even count. Skuza, from Brecksville, Ohio, returned in early May to Richmond, Va., for the completion of the rain-delayed Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Every team was allowed to make one test pass before eliminations resumed, and Skuza made the first four-second pass of his career with a run of 4.96 seconds in the Matco Tools Dodge Avenger. Although the run didn't count because it was a test pass, the message was clear: Skuza was a player. A four-second run grants a driver admission into a new circle of respect from his peers. "It proved we could do it," Skuza said. "I was starting to wonder myself. That's what's really bad, when you start doubting yourself. You say, 'Hey, I've got the same parts as that guy next to me, and that car has run in the fours 10 or 12 times. Why can't we do it just once?'" Skuza's next step is his first career victory. He'll try again at the 33rd annual, $1,452,450 Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing, June 12-15 at National Trail Raceway. The race is the 10th event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. The test pass was just another sign that Skuza's nightmarish 1996 season is history. He finished 12th in the NHRA Winston point standings after finishing sixth in 1995, his second full season of Funny Car racing. But a flexible, new chassis helped Skuza record a runner-up finish at the ATSCO Nationals this year, and he is eighth in the standings. "I think you need something like that," Skuza said of his rough year. "It was a character-builder. If you look at everybody who is winning now, they've all had horrible years. I think that's just part of it. It's just amazing what a tweak here and a tweak there will do."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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Series NHRA
Drivers Dean Skuza