Columbus: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

Scelzi collects no. 6 qualifying position in columbus COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 14, 2003) - It looked like Gary Scelzi was going to walk away with another top speed track record after the second round of qualifying today (only one was held...

Scelzi collects no. 6 qualifying position in columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 14, 2003) - It looked like Gary Scelzi was going to walk away with another top speed track record after the second round of qualifying today (only one was held yesterday), when he qualified in the third spot with a 320.43-mph run at 4.876 seconds in his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car. If the rain had continued, it would have been his. However, the rain subsided and a third and final round was held, in which John Force bettered Scelzi's speed with a 323.66-mph run for a track record.

Scelzi ended up No. 6 after establishing a 4.863-second pass at 320.13 mph in that final round.

"I think this is the first time we outqualified Whit (Bazemore, in seventh), my teammate. That's exciting," the three-time Top Fuel champion said.

"We had to find our limitation and obviously we only picked it up a hundredth (of a second), which was a little bit depressing, but it made it," he added. "That was good, because it had a lot of tire speed. For it to have the tire speed and to move around like it was trying to do and me being able to keep it in the groove speaks volumes for the Dodge body and for the Oakley tune-up because it made it. Three runs in a row, right down the race track. Two runs at over 320 mph. So, tomorrow I feel pretty confident parking next to anybody out there."

"I think they're all aware that we were one of the few cars that made every single lap and that plays on the competition. Psychologically, mentally and historically we've done the right thing here the last three races; we just haven't had a break. If we get a break tomorrow we could make a mess out of this whole thing."

"We've had a good car; in Chicago it showed. Even though we had lane choice, things didn't work out well. But it came here and went down the race track the first run. We came back in the second run and Mike (Neff, crew chief) didn't get too crazy early and it went right down there smooth as silk, an .87 at 320 mph, and top speed at the time for Dodge and Oakley. I think we're starting to show our colors and if we hit our stride soon enough we'll get that win that's been eluding us and hopefully we'll get us a top five, top four in the POWERade points or somewhere in there. I don't want to look too far ahead. This is just a few runs and we need to stay this way. But I feel pretty good about my chances. I like the car; it's going down the race track and that's where we were at the beginning and it looks like we've got it back. With a little luck tomorrow we could be talking again."

Scelzi will face Cruz Pedregon in the first round of eliminations tomorrow.

MICHAEL WALTRIP'S PIT CREW VISITS SCELZI

The pit crew for NASCAR Winston Cup driver Michael Waltrip dropped in from Michigan International Speedway to visit Gary Scelzi this weekend. "Michael Waltrip is a friend of mine and we also do a lot of business at Scelzi Enterprises with his sponsor Napa," said Scelzi. "Mike Reardon from Napa hopped on a plane with about eight or nine of Michael Waltrip's pit crew guys, flew out last night to watch the qualifying run here. They didn't get to see it. So, after happy hour in Michigan, they flew back today and happened to catch our run because the rain delayed everything this morning. They really enjoyed themselves. They got put in the middle between myself and Tommy Johnson and got to see us run 320 mph, and, you want to talk about a bunch of chatterboxes. Those guys were really excited to watch 8000 horsepower go down the race track."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Michael Waltrip , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Tommy Johnson , Cruz Pedregon