SCELZI MAKES IT THREE-IN-A-ROW FOR SCHUMACHER RACING AT INDY TESTING; BURKART FASTEST IN TOP FUEL AT THURSDAY'S TEST SESSION CLERMONT, Ind. -- Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi made it three-in-a-row for Don Schumacher Racing at the final session of...
SCELZI MAKES IT THREE-IN-A-ROW FOR SCHUMACHER RACING AT INDY TESTING; BURKART FASTEST IN TOP FUEL AT THURSDAY'S TEST SESSION
CLERMONT, Ind. -- Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi made it three-in-a-row for Don Schumacher Racing at the final session of testing for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
Scelzi clocked a 4.846 second run at 317.87 mph, taking the top spot for Thursday's test session, which had been held the previous two days of testing by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.
Testing his Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger with newly acquired crew chief, Todd Okuhara, Scelzi says the experience gained in this test session should prove to be successful heading into the U.S. Nationals.
"Todd hasn't had a whole lot of test time with our car," said Scelzi. "We got here and there were a lot of things he wanted to try with the clutch and today was mainly doing some really wild stuff. It looked really great and that was the quickest run of the weekend and that wasn't the optimum conditions that we had run in the other night."
Scelzi feels that with conditions being cooler then the scorching heat felt in Indy for Thursday's test session, his team should have an exceptional tune-up for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals beginning next week.
"I'm very pleased and looking very forward to coming back to the U.S. Nationals," Scelzi said. "I'm hoping it is hot because what we learned right now was a big thing. I'm not worried about it when it is cold because those guys set the national record last year with (Jack) Beckman so I've got that tune-up and I feel good about my chances."
Fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman turned in the second best run of the day in Funny Car. Beckman drove his Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger to a 4.860 second run at 316.45 mph. Cruz Pedregon piloted his Advance Auto Parts Chevy Impala SS to a distant third with a 5.215 second run at 232.75 mph.
In the Top Fuel category Phil Burkart had the best time out of the dragsters testing Thursday. Testing in the Hartley Racing dragster, Burkart had a quick run of 4.620 seconds at 326.40 mph. Burkart says his early run, before late in the heat of the day, helped him secure the top spot during testing.
"The 62 came early in the day and the heat wasn't in the race track like it is now," Burkart said. "It's cool and that was only my second full pass in the car to finish up my license."
Testing for the first time in a Top Fuel dragster, Burkart says he noticed quickly the differences between driving a Funny Car and driving a Top Fuel dragster.
"These things are a totally different animal from the Funny Car," Burkart said. "I can see so much more in the dragster. Obviously in a Funny Car you are traveling a quarter-mile but in a dragster you can see much more of that quarter-mile going by you and nothing is blocking your way, so it's pretty cool. I think it went a little better than I thought it would in the fact that I was able to not do the Funny Car syndrome kind of thing and not drive in and out of the groove. With a Funny Car you have to steer it so much more."
Clocking in the second fastest run in Top Fuel was a driver who also made the switch from Funny Car to Top Fuel for this year, Whit Bazemore. Bazemore drove his Matco Tools dragster to a 4.641 second run at 314.68 mph.
The 53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 3. It is the 18th race on the 23-race season schedule and the first of four races in the Countdown to the Championship playoff. The top eight drivers in all four professional categories will compete for the top four spots in the points before the cutoff race, The Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va.