Scelzi No. 7 in Chicago, Watches Force Surpass His Record Speed JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2004) - Gary Scelzi held onto the elapsed time he set in the first round of qualifying on Friday, of 4.827 seconds at 324.59 mph, to place No. 7 in the Funny...
Scelzi No. 7 in Chicago, Watches Force Surpass His Record Speed
JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 2, 2004) - Gary Scelzi held onto the elapsed time he set in the first round of qualifying on Friday, of 4.827 seconds at 324.59 mph, to place No. 7 in the Funny Car field after only three qualifying rounds.
Friday's second round was rained out and today's 50-degree temperatures and bright sun produced outstanding conditions on Route 66 Raceway's quarter-mile for quick times and fast speeds.
Driving the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus, Scelzi, who had set the national Funny Car speed record here in May of 330.55 mph under NHRA's 90-percent nitromethane rule and predicted that the record would not likely be broken this weekend under the new 85-percent rule, watched Funny Car points leader John Force prove him wrong.
While Scelzi and crew chief Mike Neff struggled to get the right setup to perform on the ultra-fast and super-quick Route 66 Raceway, posting a 5.038/233.80 in the second session and a tire-smoking 11.427/79.10 in the final, Force blasted to the finish line with a stunning 4.697-second pass at 332.75 mph, for No. 1.
In order for Force to surpass Scelzi's national top-speed record, he will need to back it up in eliminations on Sunday within one percent of that speed (329.42 mph). To establish a new elapsed-time record (Whit Bazemore currently still holds the record at 4.713 seconds), he will have to back it up within one percent (4.744).
"I definitely didn't expect that," said Scelzi, who is second in Funny Car NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points to Force, with three races remaining. "That was a jaw-dropper and it just goes to show that all of us are being out-classed by John Force right now, no question about it.
"They have flexed their muscles, and I'm telling you, they're on another planet. That was just incredible.
"Congratulations to those guys. Whatever they're doing it's working and I don't know what to say. We tried to step the HEMI Oakley Dodge up and get it to do what it needs to do and we just couldn't get it done. We'll just keep trying."
Scelzi faces Jerry Toliver in first round of eliminations on Sunday, which begin at 11 a.m.