TEAM MOPARÂ®'S SCELZI WILL START NO. 16 AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2008) -- MoparÂ®/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi will start from the No. 16 qualifying spot in the elimination rounds ...
TEAM MOPAR®'S SCELZI WILL START NO. 16 AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS
MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2008) -- Mopar®/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi will start from the No. 16 qualifying spot in the elimination rounds tomorrow of the 29th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. The Don Schumacher Racing driver posted a best pass of 4.326/282.30 to earn a spot in the first Funny Car field to race to 1,000 feet.
Scelzi, winner of the 2006 Mopar Mile-High Nationals, will attempt to overcome his start from back in the pack and give primary sponsor Mopar a third straight Funny Car win in the brand's flagship event. The Fresno, Calif., native will face Tony Pedregon in the first round.
"Obviously not the weekend we planned in the Mopar Funny Car, especially after Mopar won the race last year with (DSR teammate) Jack Beckman," said Scelzi, a four-time NHRA champion. "We can't get a handle on this thing and I'm not sure what's going on. We can't get the power to match the clutch. I thought we were over the hill and evidently we're not. Tomorrow we'll just go up there loaded for bear and have to shoot our shot and have to hope it sticks."
Scelzi still remains a proponent of shortening the track from 1,320 feet to 1,000 feet following NHRA Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta's fatal accident in Englishtown, N.J., but sees the need for a few tweaks to the new format.
"I still think it's a great idea. The only problem I've got is finding the 1,000-foot mark at night," said Scelzi. "I shut off two hundred feet early which kind of got us in the position we're in in qualifying, so I'm not too happy about that on my part."
Scelzi added, "I think we need to get something out there brighter so we can find it at night. Daytime I don't have too much trouble, but I know [Ron] Capps shut off early today. I know some people had trouble in the sunlight and some didn't. I think we just need to find a little bit better way to mark it, but other than that I think it is going to be fine."