Spectacular explosion for Scelzi; Cannon No. 6 in Vegas. Gary Scelzi, Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, survived a spectacular explosion in tonight's run. Today's earlier pass, a 5.246-second lap at 184.72 mph places him in No. 15 ...
Spectacular explosion for Scelzi; Cannon No. 6 in Vegas.
Gary Scelzi, Oakley Time Bomb Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, survived a spectacular explosion in tonight's run. Today's earlier pass, a 5.246-second lap at 184.72 mph places him in No. 15 qualifying position. The body was destroyed, but the chassis is OK. Tomorrow Scelzi will run the Dodge "Grab Life by the Horns" body, which he debuted in Gainesville.
"It was really running well. It ran 3.29 e.t. at 263 mph at the one-eighth mile and then the front end got light and it moved to the left quickly and I yanked it right and I pedaled it. And that's the absolute wrong time in the world to pedal it, because it's got 77 gallons a minute of nitromethane going in it and it lit all the fuel off when I got back on it, and it went kaboom.
"But your natural instinct is to do a quick pedal and yank it back in the groove and try to finish the run. But that's not exactly where to do it. But your instincts take over. I think we found that the front end was kind of floating and it's been doing it for a while; we need some more spoiler in the front. I think that kind of proved our theory.
"Everything is fine. We got another body; we will have to run the Dodge body. The car is fine; we'll just put another motor in it, put all new ignition on it, make sure everything is fine and go back and run it tomorrow and try to put it in the field."
IS THIS YOUR FIRST SPECTACULAR FUNNY CAR EXPLOSION?
"I had one in Houston last year in the Toyota, but it wasn't as good as this one. This one was a lot better; there's nothing left of the body. The thing that I like about a Funny Car is that if this had happened in a dragster it probably would have taken a rear tire, took the wing, and the car would have broken into pieces and you would have been helpless. The thing about the Funny Car is when it did blow up I had a steering wheel in my hand, I had brakes, I had a fire bottle. At least I had a shot and the shot paid off. I didn't hit anything; I got the car stopped and the car's fine."
Scotty Cannon, Oakley "Sleep Tight...Oakley Design is Awake" Funny Car, is No. 6 qualifier, with another consistent pass of 4.859 at 321.73 mph.
"I don't want to sound like I'm not happy, but we were actually trying to make the car run better than it did. Are we disappointed? Absolutely not. Am I proud of the guys? One hundred ten percent. Just take me out of the equation. I want all my guys to have the credit. Yeah, I drive and I help to make decisions, but that's not my part. I'm just proud of the guys.
"The motor's looking good. The motor's got nine runs on it. We went a .92 in Gainesville first round and got the bugs out. Every run since then has been quicker than a .92. so that's five runs: four runs in the .80s and one .92. And that's going from one end of the United States to the other.
"That's the way we look at it. And having a new team and all our guys together, we're gelling in a lot of ways. A lot of people don't realize, we had our first team meeting this morning, since we've had our whole team together. Like everybody sits down, airs things out, tells each other how they feel. We've been working so hard, night and day, trying to get this car fixed. We don't want anybody feeling sorry for us, but they just don't realize how many hours we've put in. A lot of guys would have quit. We're actually racing our old car now.
"I'm happy for the guys, I'm happy for myself, I'm happy for Jim (Jannard, Oakley's Mad Scientist), Don (Schumacher) and all the sponsors, that they're actually getting to see some results. the most impressive thing to me personally is it made five runs down the track, and nine times out of 10 if you go five runs in a row, and run that good, and you keep doing it, you can win some rounds and win some races."