SCELZI RAMPS IT UP, GOES TO SEMIFINAL ROUND IN GAINESVILLE GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2005) - Gary Scelzi powered the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car straight into the semifinal round at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway...
SCELZI RAMPS IT UP, GOES TO SEMIFINAL ROUND IN GAINESVILLE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 20, 2005) - Gary Scelzi powered the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car straight into the semifinal round at the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway today, defeating his teammate Ron Capps (4.857/319.48) and Del Worsham (4.851/320.51) along the way.
With lane choice over his teammate Whit Bazemore in the semifinal round, he and his entire team, led by crew chief Mike Neff, were ramped up for a good run and a move into the final round. Scelzi took off first at the starting light, with a .080 reaction time to Bazemore's .089, but that was all she wrote as Scelzi struck the tires off the concrete launch pad and slowed to a 5.377-second ET at 209.05 mph. Bazemore nabbed the victory with a 4.920/302.01, and eventually the event win.
"We struggled on Friday in those really cold temperatures," said Scelzi, who has yet to win the Gatornationals in his career as a three-time Top Fuel champion and as a Funny Car driver since 2002. "Mike (Neff, crew chief) really put it together today. You know, the track must have just gotten looser, because we slowed it down a little bit more and it just got a little bit fast and when it came off the concrete it just went into tire smoke.
"We're learning. I'm learning driving every time I hit the gas in the thing and Mike's getting better every time he turns the wrenches. These guys are great. They give you so much confidence. (Team owner) Don Schumacher today had words of encouragement for me, the team and Mike. That's not like Don. He's pretty quiet. He's got so many teams out here and I let him know that we really appreciate it.
"Even though it seems like a really small thing, it's a big deal for us to have the boss actually pat you on the back while you're going rounds.
"I'm ready for Houston. Bring it on, let's keep going now, the ball's rolling. First round win in Pomona, second round in Phoenix, semis here, let's go win Houston."
Scelzi moved into seventh in the Funny Car point standings, 73 points behind leader and teammate Bazemore.
Next up is the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway, April 8-10.