Scelzi out in first round at U.S. Nationals INDIANAPOLIS (Sept.7, 2003) - In the last four races of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Gary Scelzi has qualified in the top five four times, including two No. 1s, a No. 5 and, here at...
Scelzi out in first round at U.S. Nationals
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept.7, 2003) - In the last four races of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Gary Scelzi has qualified in the top five four times, including two No. 1s, a No. 5 and, here at the U.S. Nationals, a No. 2. Scelzi parlayed one of those strong qualifying results into one Funny Car victory (his first career Funny Car win), but he wasn't able to make it two at the U.S. Nationals.
In the first round of final eliminations at this prestigious event, Scelzi was paired with Tim Wilkerson. Sometimes stuff happens, we've all said at one time or another. And so it did today. Scelzi staged deep, launching at .102 of a second to Wilkerson's .076. But that was all she wrote as Scelzi's Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus dropped a cylinder immediately, resulting in a valiant but losing pass of 4.968-seconds at 299.80 mph.
Wilkerson took the win with a 4.829/321.27.
"It was very unfortunate for the Oakley Dodge," said the Fresno native and a former U.S. Nationals champion in Top Fuel. "We were OK, everything was good. For whatever reason it dropped a hole (cylinder) at the step of the throttle. The car didn't move. It pushed me over to the right side to get me to go over the centerline. I fought it back, fought it the whole way down. It just kept getting worse as I was going down the race track. And I saw there was no chance of catching Tim so I just ended up shutting it off.
"It's very unfortunate at this race of all races to have a problem like that when we've had such a good race car, actually, since Denver. And we still have a good race car. We had something mechanical go wrong, maybe an ignition part. Something failed. We don't know what it is just yet, but we've got plenty of parts. We'll put all new stuff on it. And we'll go run this thing again and see what happens."
The three-time Top Fuel champion and fastest Funny Car driver in the world (328.06 mph), hangs on to eighth place in the Funny Car championship point standings, with 813 points.
Next up is Round 18 of 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events, the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Sept. 12-14.