Dallas: Gary Scelzi preview

Good weather could see high speeds in Dallas, says Scelzi ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 8, 2003) - If the weather is cool in Dallas, as is predicted, the fastest Funny Car driver on the planet, Gary Scelzi, feels records could be broken at Texas Motorplex...

Good weather could see high speeds in Dallas, says Scelzi

ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 8, 2003) - If the weather is cool in Dallas, as is predicted, the fastest Funny Car driver on the planet, Gary Scelzi, feels records could be broken at Texas Motorplex this weekend for the O'Reilly Fall Nationals.

Scelzi, who holds the NHRA Funny Car national top-speed record of 329.18 mph in his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus, has had a tough year in his first full season of Funny Car competition, despite regularly eclipsing his own speed records. A 25-time winner and a three-time champion in the Top Fuel category, the Fresno, Calif., native has only one Funny Car event victory, in Sonoma, Calif., this year.

With just three races left in the 23-event 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Scelzi is aiming for a top-six finish in the point standings and expects his Oakley Dodge rocketship to help him move up from his No. 8 points position in Dallas this weekend.

"With the weather we're going to have here in Dallas, I think the elapsed time and the speed records could fall," he said. "It's a seasoned race track. It's been around a long time. But it's still a pretty smooth race track and it's all concrete." Currently, Scelzi's teammate Whit Bazemore holds the Funny Car records here of 4.753 seconds in E.T. and 325.37 mph in speed.

"It's also the right time of the year," he added. "It has a recipe for records."

Moving up in the point standings notwithstanding, Scelzi wants to win each of the last three races. "We're not backing down at all this year. We are going to Dallas and let the big dog eat," he said. "We're going to pour the coals to this Oakley Dodge. We're going to give it everything we've got, and try to finish in the top six. We'll see if we get a horseshoe when we pull into the gate.

"We had an opportunity to win in Reading, but we just missed," added Scelzi, who's won at the Motorplex three times in Top Fuel (1998, '99 and '00). "We're not going to change our game plan. We're going at this thing swinging the bat. It's that way until the end of the year.

"This has turned into somewhat of an agonizing season, mainly because I know that this team is way better than we're showing. We've just had no luck. Luck is a big part of the sport. You make your own luck, but we just can't seem to get a break."

Scelzi's one DNQ this season and nine first-round losses have been hard to swallow, but he admits that because his Oakley Dodge has performed so well that every racer who lines up against him is out for blood. "The competition is tough," he said. "They know who they're parking next to when they pull up there. They're throwing everything they've got at us, and that's the way it should be. It's actually kind of an honor."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi