SCELZI IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE CAPPS IN ENGLISHTOWN ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18, 2006) - Gary Scelzi is b-a-a-a-ck. The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car has returned to his familiar form, rocketing through the field to...
SCELZI IS RUNNER-UP TO TEAMMATE CAPPS IN ENGLISHTOWN
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 18, 2006) - Gary Scelzi is b-a-a-a-ck. The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car has returned to his familiar form, rocketing through the field to reach his first final round of the 2006 season in his career 200th national event today at the K&N Filters SuperNationals. Scelzi moved up to seventh in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and is just 116 points out of third place.
The popular reigning Funny Car champion and No. 4 qualifier faced his teammate and class points leader Ron Capps in the final round after dismissing Cruz Pedregon with a 4.929-second elapsed time at 313.44 mph, Tony Pedregon with a 4.947/311.41, and the No. 1 qualifier Tony Bartone in the semifinals, with a 5.478/203.80.
Temperatures increased to the near-90s and conditions were sticky and tricky. Scelzi trailed Capps at the starting lights by .054 of a second (.079 to .133 - .000 is perfect), but soared to the finish line with a quicker 5.012-second elapsed time at 301.81 mph. Unfortunately, he couldn't make up the difference at the finish, giving Capps the victory with a slower 5.025/299.46. Margin of victory: .0418 of a second.
"We go up there and they tell us to get in the car," said the four-time NHRA champion who still has not won at Englishtown, one of three NHRA tracks he's not won at (E'town, Denver and Gainesville, Fla.). "I must have sat in it for 20 minutes, so your emotions are running because when you get in the car you want to go. I'm trying to keep myself pumped up. I rolled in there trying to jump on Capps because my lights had been good all day, and I almost double-stepped it. I almost hit the gas, and I caught it, then I was late. I mean, it's just a dumb mistake that happens sometimes."
"Overall, it was a good weekend. Our car goes down hot race tracks; it was the car to beat here. We should have won the race, but we didn't, but we moved up to seventh in points. The Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger goes down the race track and we're not hurting parts and my driving was good up to the final. But we'll be OK. We're going to St. Louis, a race we've done real well at. We'll just try to win that one."
"We can run good in the good conditions and good in the bad conditions. We're into the hot weather right now, so hopefully we can just keep going up the ladder like we're going and make a move to at least the top three or four."
"Everything is better now. We really started turning things around in Bristol, but we got behind and it's hard to make up that ground, especially when you have somebody like Capps, who is doing so well. And, good for him. They deserve it over there with Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch), him and Olson. They've been phenomenal. They we're great last year and they're continuing it on, so good for them."
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill., June 23-25.