Joliet: Gary Scelzi Saturday summary

SCELZI ON REMOTE CONTROL; QUALIFIES NO. 9 WITH 4.8 AVERAGE JOLIET, Ill. (June 11, 2005) - Gary Scelzi and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car were on remote control this weekend, averaging 4.883 seconds for all four qualifying runs for...

SCELZI ON REMOTE CONTROL; QUALIFIES NO. 9 WITH 4.8 AVERAGE

JOLIET, Ill. (June 11, 2005) - Gary Scelzi and the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car were on remote control this weekend, averaging 4.883 seconds for all four qualifying runs for the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

The Fresno, Calif., native almost broke out in the final attempt, as he was heading for a 4.77-second run until he fishtailed at the end of the quarter-mile and slowed to a 4.824/304.80.

The first three qualifying rounds resulted in a 4.857/318.99, a 4.816/324.12 and a 4.838/323.35.

"That last run was probably a .77 run. I shut it off early," he said. "For whatever reason the car's been acting a little funny here. It's got a vibration. The wind didn't help matters, it started to whip, so I just clicked it early. I figured it was just qualifying; we know what it was going to run.

"So it went .82 at 304.80 mph. It was really a low speed. We're in good shape. We just have to put the car on the scales, find out what's going on, see if anything's moving, if it's a tire issue or just the wind, or a combination of things.

"We're ready to go. We're one of the most consistent cars here today and yesterday. The last time we did that was in Sonoma in '03 and I remember what happened there very well (he won his first Funny Car race)."

The entire Don Schumacher Racing team feels heartache for Whit Bazemore, crew chief Lee Beard and the Matco Tools Dodge team, as Bazemore failed to qualify for the first time since Reading, Pa., in 2003. "That's disheartening," said Scelzi. "I can't imagine what Bazemore is going through. He finished No. 2 last year and won here in '03. I feel sorry for Lee and the whole Matco Tools team. It's disappointing. It happens. You just hope it doesn't happen anywhere around you.

"One thing that's funny: The week before every race I tell my wife, 'I've got to win this race, I've got to win this race,' and she always yells back, 'You have to qualify first.'

"And sometimes we forget that. With the equipment that we have and the resources that Don gives us that shouldn't be an issue, but sometimes it is even for a good team like theirs."

Scelzi faces No. 8 qualifier Bob Gilbertson in first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Bob Gilbertson , Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Don Schumacher