ON 'HIATUS TOUR,' SCELZI POISED FOR FIRST E-TOWN WIN FRESNO, Calif. (June 20, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi has won 35 national events in his 11-year professional career: 25 in Top Fuel and 10 in Funny...
ON 'HIATUS TOUR,' SCELZI POISED FOR FIRST E-TOWN WIN
FRESNO, Calif. (June 20, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi has won 35 national events in his 11-year professional career: 25 in Top Fuel and 10 in Funny Car, including the last event of his 2007 "Hiatus Tour" (thank you Ron Kremer of the Joliet Herald) at Route 66 Raceway on June 10.
But the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing, who earlier this year announced he would take a sabbatical from the sport at the end of this season, has never won at Old Bridge Township Raceway in Englishtown, N.J.
So, this weekend's ProCare Rx SuperNationals at this venerable site is on his hit list, as he prepares for the beginning of a brutal six-race swing in the middle of his already extremely hectic schedule.
"My schedule lately is ridiculous," said Scelzi, who still holds the Funny Car speed record at Old Bridge, of 328.3 mph. "Ever since Topeka I've been on the road. (Wife) Julie and the kids (sons Dominic and Giovanni) flew in and met me in Chicago. That turned out to be a great event. We tested there on Monday, went to the DSR shop in Indy, flew home from Indy on Wednesday afternoon. Then all the drivers (J.R. Todd, Ron Capps, Cory McClenathan, Morgan Lucas, Del Worsham, Brandon Bernstein and John Force) came in to do my celebrity race in Visalia, Calif. We practiced on Wednesday, on Thursday we did a bunch of media and T.V., and on Friday we went and watched Dominic race. I was back to the shop in Fresno at 1 in the morning, then got back to the shop at 7 a.m. the next day to get Dominic's car ready to race for Saturday.
"We ran the celebrity race, then Sunday afternoon I went to Kansas to get ready to race the Michael Ross Memorial Foundation modified race this Wednesday night and do the golf tournament with Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Ron Capps and all these guys, including Dave Marcis, the old NASCAR guy who used to wear wingtip shoes when he raced his car. It's been wide open ever since.
"Then I'll get to Englishtown this weekend. I gave that race away last year," said Scelzi, who was runner-up to his teammate and Funny Car points leader Ron Capps in 2006. "I pretty much handed it to Capps on a silver platter, being late on the line, and that one was frustrating. It's a race I hadn't won before, and we had the car to do it and I blew it.
"We're looking to come back. We're fresh from a win. You always feel good going to the next event after a win."
Englishtown begins a six-race, back-to-back swing, which includes E-Town; Norwalk, Ohio; Bristol, Tenn.; Denver, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; and Sonoma, Calif. "It's going to be brutal," said Scelzi.
After nine Funny Car events, Don Schumacher Racing teams have won five of them: three for points leader Ron Capps, two for Gary Scelzi.
Scelzi now holds the longest active consecutive qualifying streak at 28! His win in Chicago tied him with Don Garlits for 13th on the all-time NHRA POWERade wins list (all categories) - and 10th in Funny Car, which placed him next to Don Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein, and Mike Dunn as the only drivers with double-digit wins in both nitro categories.