SCELZI CLAIMS FIFTH IN GAINESVILLE QUALIFYING GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2005) - The zip code said we're in Florida, but the temperatures the last few days in Gainesville, in the northern part of the state, said something else. All the NHRA...
SCELZI CLAIMS FIFTH IN GAINESVILLE QUALIFYING
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 19, 2005) - The zip code said we're in Florida, but the temperatures the last few days in Gainesville, in the northern part of the state, said something else.
All the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series classes struggled to get down a cold track the last two days, where the outside thermometer dipped into the 40s yesterday under cloudy skies, then warmed to the 60s today as the sun popped out and produced spring-like conditions.
Gary Scelzi, in the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car, coasted to an 11.442/75.03 in the first round, was disqualified in the second after crossing the centerline (6.238/148.71), before finally making a stout pass in the third session, of 4.815/310.77, the quickest ET of that round.
In today's final attempt, Scelzi clocked a 4.891/312.60, ending up No. 5 in the 16-car field.
"We struggled a little bit in qualifying," he said. "We never ran under 40-ambient-degree conditions and track temperatures of 60 degrees. We ran in Vegas a couple of years ago testing like that when it was that cold. We didn't make it down the track then, we didn't make it down the track now.
"Fortunately, we run under conditions like these only once in a great while. We came back, rebounded, ran very well with the .81, but for some reason in the last run it hurt a piston either on the burnout or at the beginning of the run and it ran on seven cylinders. It ran an .89, so, we're OK."
Scelzi will face his new teammate Ron Capps in the first round of eliminations on Sunday, the first time the pair will meet as members of Don Schumacher Racing. "It's unfortunate we get Ron Capps first round," said Scelzi. "Ron is deadly on the starting line and those guys have been running very well. But we can't play favorites and friends now. It's time to go to war and time for us to move up in the POWERade points chase (he's 10th). We're going to throw everything we got at Ron and see if we can get this Gatornationals win that's been eluding me for a long time."
Scelzi has won 29 national events in his career, in Top Fuel and Funny Car, but has never won at the Gatornationals.