SCELZI FALLS IN VEGAS OPENING ROUND LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi entertained the fans at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - not only...
SCELZI FALLS IN VEGAS OPENING ROUND
LAS VEGAS (Oct. 29, 2006) - Reigning NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi entertained the fans at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway - not only with the "Nacho Libre" outfit he wore Saturday for his "Scelzi Sez" skit on ESPN2, but with the outstanding race he had against Tony Pedregon in the opening round of eliminations today.
It was a tight head-to-head match down the quarter-mile, but it wasn't pretty. Driving the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T, Scelzi faltered first out of the box, Pedregon moved further ahead, then slowed with a dead cylinder. Scelzi recovered dramatically and tore to the finish line, missing the win by 30 feet.
Scelzi's 319.82-mph run at the stripe was impressive, but his 5.179-second elapsed time wasn't enough to take the win over Pedregon's 5.143/225.90. Margin of victory: .0646 of a second.
"For whatever reason, it shook the tire. I pedaled it, caught it, and the car jerked sideways, and I had to pedal it again," said Scelzi. "That's probably what cost us, was the second pedal.
"I race on Sunday until I see them turn a win light on," he said of his quick recovery. "Unless they're so far ahead there's no way. So, natural instinct was to try to save the run and get it down there without hitting anything. It was pretty close at the finish line. We were running 319 mph and coming on hard. But it shouldn't have shook. That's the bottom line. If it wouldn't have shook, we would've won. End of story.
"It just seems like there's no window when the sun is out. It shows signs of promise and then it doesn't. There's no winning this war," he said of his struggles this season to defend his title. "I'm not sure what we're going to do, or what type of decision we're going to have to make, but it's making us pull our hair out.
"You can't have a car that sensitive, where it will go down the track, show signs of being easy and then you try to step it up, and have a problem. It will step up under cold conditions, but it won't do anything when the sun's out.
"I don't know. It's frustrating as hell is all I know. We have to find out how to make this thing do what it needs to do.
"By the way, congratulations to my teammate Jack Beckman for his first win today!"
Scelzi remains seventh in the Funny Car point standings, with one race remaining in the season.
Next up is the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway, Nov. 9-12, 2006.