INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 5, 2003) - In the final pair of Funny Cars tonight, the No. 1 and No. 3 qualifiers from last week's rained out U.S. Nationals scorched the Indianapolis Raceway Park quarter-mile with a 4.764/325.53 mph run for Oakley Time Bomb...
INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 5, 2003) - In the final pair of Funny Cars tonight, the No. 1 and No. 3 qualifiers from last week's rained out U.S. Nationals scorched the Indianapolis Raceway Park quarter-mile with a 4.764/325.53 mph run for Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus driver Gary Scelzi and a 4.759/307.72 for John Force's Ford. Scelzi, who was No. 1 last week, had to settle for No. 2 tonight to Force, despite beating the 12-time NHRA Funny Car champion to the finish line.
Scelzi's pass was a touch quicker than last week's 4.765-second lap, but his speed was the fastest of the U.S. Nationals so far. Two more qualifying runs plus the Budweiser Shootout will take place tomorrow.
"Two .76s back to back. Got the speed back, 325 mph, which we were missing last week. Good, consistent race car. That's a very important factor," said Scelzi. "We know we can run at night now. The Dodge can run speed, it's quick early. We've still got some refining to do. but tomorrow's the test. We'll have sun tomorrow, hopefully. Not hot temperatures, but sun on the race track and that's going to be important. Tomorrow's weather should be the conditions we race in on Sunday. We need to run .80 flat, .79, .81, somewhere in that neighborhood tomorrow in the daylight. And if we can get it to do that we're going to be a big player on Sunday."
Relinquishing No. 1 to John Force is no big deal, he added. "That's all hype. It feels good to be No. 1. We'd like to get the Budweiser money. But being in the top half of the field, top four, is always a good thing. Consistency is even a better thing. Qualifying is qualifying, it's just that. But when you have a race car that is raceable like I think this Oakley Dodge is, Man, you're going to raise some eyebrows. And besides that, we beat that Edsel in the other lane. Force calls my car a Hudson, so I can call his an Edsel."