ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 11, 2003) - It was good while it lasted, but the cloud cover that enveloped the Texas Motorplex during the final Funny Car qualifying session for the O'Reilly Fall Nationals handed the opportunity to just about anyone to depose...
ENNIS, Texas (Oct. 11, 2003) - It was good while it lasted, but the cloud cover that enveloped the Texas Motorplex during the final Funny Car qualifying session for the O'Reilly Fall Nationals handed the opportunity to just about anyone to depose Gary Scelzi from the No. 1 qualifying position he earned last night.
Only one driver managed to knock Scelzi and his Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus off the podium and that was John Force with his 4.814-second pass at 322.11 mph. Scelzi was staged just behind Force and knew he had to step it up to regain No. 1. It didn't happen, as he hazed the tires and dropped cylinders to a less-than-spectacular 4.925-second run at 279.24 mph. He did, however, retain the top speed of the meet of 323.97 mph, which he set Friday evening. The 4.828-second pass he posted then held up for the No. 2 spot.
"We saw Force go to .814 and so we jumped on it. It knocked the tire loose a little bit down track and put a couple of cylinders out and burned the motor up," Scelzi said. "We put ourselves in a position to do that, which is what you need to do. But it went down the race track. We just got a little aggressive toward the top end trying to run the big speed again and we got caught."
Despite losing the pole to Force and smoking the tires in the third qualifying round, Scelzi was pleased with the car's performance. "It went down the race track three for four times," he said. "We're ready for tomorrow. We can go down when it's hot, we can go down when it's cooler. The track's not as good as we'd like to see it, but that's not going to hurt us, so we're in good shape.
Scelzi will face Dale Creasy Jr. in the first round of final eliminations tomorrow.