Scelzi Advances to Second Round in Texas ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2004) - Well, there's good and news and bad news coming out of today's Funny Car eliminations in the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. The good news is that John Force did not win the...
Scelzi Advances to Second Round in Texas
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 26, 2004) - Well, there's good and news and bad news coming out of today's Funny Car eliminations in the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals. The good news is that John Force did not win the event. In fact, he red-lighted for the third time this season in the semifinal round against Del Worsham. The bad news is that Gary Scelzi lost in the second round to Cruz Pedregon.
However, the combination of these two events brings some relatively good news to Scelzi and his HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus team, as Force's lead in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings has extended to only 22 more points over Scelzi, and with four races remaining, Force has 1457 points, Scelzi 1229. Like they say, 'it coulda been worse,' and Scelzi remains in the running for his first Funny Car championship on top of three Top Fuel crowns.
Scelzi defeated Jerry Toliver in the first round of eliminations today under sunny and hot conditions, with a 4.947/297.02 to 7.358/115.31. In the second round, Scelzi smoked the tires at half-track and lost to Pedregon by a margin of .3731 of a second. The numbers: 5.296/216.06 for Scelzi; 4.950/312.50 for Pedregon.
"We're trying to make this thing not smoke the tires out there in the middle," said Scelzi, "and we're real close to making it work. It's on the edge.
"It still ran 4.94 in the first round and it spun the tires at the end of the track. And in the second run it just got it earlier. The move we made may have been a little bit too much of a move and it took the tires off and we lost.
"We'll load up and go to Chicago and we won't have to worry about that anymore because Route 66 Raceway is incredible. We'll go there and see how fast this HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge will run."
Next up is the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., Oct. 1-3, where Scelzi became the first Funny Car driver to break the 330-mph mark, setting a national speed record of 330.55 mph in this year's last event there in May.