SCELZI OUT IN QUARTERFINALS IN MEMPHIS MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2005) - The complexion of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship changed once again today when No. 2 in points Gary Scelzi was ousted by No. 4 in points,...
SCELZI OUT IN QUARTERFINALS IN MEMPHIS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2005) - The complexion of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship changed once again today when No. 2 in points Gary Scelzi was ousted by No. 4 in points, his teammate Ron Capps, in the quarterfinals of the O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals.
Scelzi first dismissed Bob Gilbertson in the first round of eliminations with a 5.168/279.56 pass, then lost a close match to Capps in the second round: 5.153/283.79 for Scelzi, 5.139/284.56 for Capps. Margin of victory: .0201 of a second or eight feet.
Capps' subsequent win against Tommy Johnson Jr. in the semifinals moved him into second, ahead of Scelzi, in the point standings. Following Eric Medlen's win today, Scelzi is third, 35 points out of the lead, still held by Robert Hight, who lost in the semifinals, and five points back of Capps, who was runner-up today.
"Those are heartbreakers to lose," said Scelzi, who is seeking his first Funny Car championship to go with his three Top Fuel crowns, "but Ron and I are good friends, we're sharing our information, and I love Ace (Capps' crew chief Ed McCulloch) to death.
"It's our goal to win a championship. Of course, I want to do it for Mopar and Oakley. Capps wants to do it for Brut. (Scelzi's other teammate Whit) Bazemore wants to do it for Matco Tools. We're all tied together. It's unfortunate. It was a close race, a good drag race, a battle of the titans; it just happened too soon in eliminations."
The racers had to endure track temperatures of as high as 139 degrees as well as a heat index nearing 110 degrees. "These are the most brutal conditions I think we've very seen," said Scelzi. "I've never seen these kind of conditions that I can remember. I thought Mike (Neff, crew chief) did a great job, so did McCulloch.
"Man, this tests your strength as to how long you can hang in this kind of heat. The temperatures were astronomical, the track was real slippery. I got to hand it to NHRA when they do a good job. The lanes were equal. It wasn't a one-lane race track, and that speaks volumes."
Next on the schedule is the prestigious U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Aug. 31-Sept. 5.