Madison: Gary Scelzi Friday summary

Scelzi breaks track records for No. 1 at Gateway on Friday MADISON, ILL. (June 25, 2004) - Under near perfect conditions at Gateway International Raceway's drag strip tonight, Funny Car track records were being broken left and right. In today's...

Scelzi breaks track records for No. 1 at Gateway on Friday

MADISON, ILL. (June 25, 2004) - Under near perfect conditions at Gateway International Raceway's drag strip tonight, Funny Car track records were being broken left and right. In today's first qualifying session, Gary Scelzi was No. 1 qualifier for a moment in the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus (4.894/316.23) until his teammate Whit Bazemore eclipsed that pass with an even quicker and faster one for No. 1 with a track record of 4.850/317.79.

Not to be outdone, Scelzi poured it on in the second qualifying session, demolishing both ends of the track record (which, earlier in this round, had been broken first by Cruz Pedregon, then by Tommy Johnson Jr.) with a 4.758-second pass at 329.34 mph for the top spot.

"Incredible," he said. "We don't get to run at night a lot. We have our night sessions but we don't get to stand on it. And this is one of the times that we've come to St. Louis that I can ever remember that it's at night, and there's not a lot of humidity, the race track is cool, temperatures are cool and you can just jump all over it.

"Fortunately for us we had a really good run on the first run, so that set us up for tonight. 'Let's just go see how big we can swing the bat.' And (crew chief) Mike Neff and (co-crew chief) Dan Olson were teasing me. 'We're going for the fence, we're going for the fence.' they said. And three or four times they said, 'You'd better have your elbows up, Baby, because you're going to haul ass tonight.'

"They didn't lie. When you hit the gas on these things at night it takes your breath away and even though this track has decent lighting the orange outside of the windows from the header flames are just roof high so that catches your peripheral vision and you're fighting this thing trying to keep it in the middle of that groove, and you can't see the groove. All you can see is the scoreboard and you're trying to keep it off the wall. It's exciting as hell.

"I didn't know it ran that good but normally when our car runs big speed the clutch just slams and then it just sets you back, and it never did that. It was just a great smooth run all the way through, which is what we've been trying to do all year long."

Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for tomorrow at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

-dsr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Gary Scelzi , Cruz Pedregon , Mike Neff , Tommy Johnson Jr.