Mopar Speed news 2005-01-24

Mopar Speed Monday, January 24, 2005 NHRA FC Scelzi, Bazemore and Capps prepare for Pomona at Las Vegas test session Whit Bazemore, Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi were busy lighting up 'The Strip' at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend,...

Mopar Speed
Monday, January 24, 2005

Scelzi, Bazemore and Capps prepare for Pomona at Las Vegas test session

Whit Bazemore, Ron Capps and Gary Scelzi were busy lighting up 'The Strip' at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway over the weekend, as the Don Schumacher Racing trio headed West for preseason testing. Consistency was the name of the game for the team, as they posted the fourth, fifth and sixth fastest runs of the weekend.

Bazemore took the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus down the strip at 4.750/328.06 on Saturday for the quickest pass of the day. The pass was also the fourth quickest of the weekend. Bazemore's other top efforts included runs of 4.759/317.34 and 4.798/326.32.

Capps was also on top of the game over the weekend, as the 4.759/326.71 pass he laid down with the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car saw Capps post the highest speed of his career. The pass was also fifth quick of the weekend. Capps also posted runs of 4.786/315.12 and 4.812/317.34 over the duration of the test.

Scelzi was also at the top of the speed charts, as the veteran driver laid down a run of 4.766/326.71 for the sixth quickest pass of the test. Scelzi was the most consistent of the three, laying down runs of 4.767/326.63, 4.777/325.61 and 4.805/326.56 over the two-day test.

Showcasing the newly designed 'Snow Camo' paint scheme, Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley/Dodge Stratus Funny Car made quite a splash on the track. The 'Snow Camo' design will be campaigned throughout the 2005 season, and was designed by Oakley's Mad Scientist Jannard and Mopar's Kevin Miller.

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season kicks off in only three weeks with the Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif. The event is scheduled to run February 10-13. For more information regarding the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, log on to

"The learning curve here was tremendous. We learned a lot of things. We could make the car do what we want it to do. And that's a big thing for us to be able to do this during the season - to start out well at Pomona and continue on and not get behind like we did last year.

"I'm very pleased. I'm looking forward to going to Phoenix testing (next weekend), with a different type of racetrack, different air and see how we do there. If we do well there, we'll finish our testing early, get everything fresh and organized a little bit more and we'll be ready for Pomona."
    Gary Scelzi

Ritchie Stevens Jr. debuts new Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T at Bradenton testing

Ritchie Stevens Jr. posted a best E.T. of 6.767 and a top speed of 204.91 while debuting the new paint scheme for the Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T during testing last week.

Don Schumacher's NHRA POWERade Funny Car teams weren't the only part of his stable testing last week, as Jeg Coughlin, Jr. and Richie Stevens were in Bradenton, Fla., for preseason action. Coughlin got down to business in a hurry, taking the Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar/Dodge Stratus R/T down the 1/4-mile with a run of 6.749/205. 19. The pass was Coughlin's best effort of the test.

Stevens debuted the new Team Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T in HEMI-powered style, turning in a best effort of 6.767/204.91. Stevens and Coughlin gained a lot of ground during the preseason outing, as both drivers and crew chief Bob Glidden were able to acclimate themselves to the newly formed team. Allen Johnson also participated in the test session, which was held January 17-18.

The NHRA POWERade Pro Stock season also kicks off at the Winternationals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif., on February 10-13. For more information regarding the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, log on to

Victory in Arizona leads Francis to first-ever repeat Early Thaw championship

Steve Francis became the first race driver to repeat as the Early Thaw Champion over the weekend, as he drove the No. 15 machine to his second-straight event win. "The Kentucky Colonel" locked up the title in a commanding fashion, leading the last nine laps of Saturday's event finale at the Central Arizona Speedway in Casa Grande, Arizona. En route to the overall title, Francis earned two feature event wins and four top-five feature event finishes to sweep the event.

On January 18, Francis brought the No. 15 to the checkered flag in third place to take over the Early Thaw Championship points lead. He followed that effort with a second-place finish on January 20, and went on to win both feature events on January 21-22 en route to the championship. Francis earned a total of $23,800 for his efforts.

The No. 15 team will head to Florida in the coming weeks for the kick off of the 2005 World of Outlaws Late Model Series season. The series will open with a two-day event at Volusia Speedway Park on February 17-18 in Barberville, Fla. For information about Francis or the World of Outlaws Late Model Series, visit or

Steve Francis hopes to build on the momentum of his repeat Early Thaw championship when the World of Outlaws Late Model Series officially begins on February 17.

Steele primed for upcoming Copper World Classic

Mopar drivers, such as Dave Steele (shown above), are gearing up for the kickoff of the 2005 USAC season at this weekend's Copper World Classic.

Nicholas Motorsports' Dave Steele will be vying for his third Copper World Classic title in USAC National Midget Series competition this weekend. Marking the start of the 2005 USAC racing season, the 28th Annual Copper World Classic is scheduled to take place at the Phoenix International Raceway on January 29-30.

Steele, who broke the PIR track record last year in the No. 2 Nicholas Motorsports machine, will also try to better his mark of 138.201 mph around the one-mile asphalt oval. Joining Steele will be fellow Team Mopar members Josh Wise and Jay Drake of Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises and Tracy Hines of Wilke-PAK Motorsports. Steele, Wise and Hines will compete in the USAC National Midget Series portion of the event, while Drake and Wise will also compete in the USAC National Silver Crown Series portion of the event for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises. Hoffman Racing is also scheduled to debut their new Mopar engine program with driver Eric Gordon in the USAC Silver Crown Series event.

The Copper World Classic will begin at 3:05 p.m. PST on January 29 with USAC National Midget and Silver Crown Series qualifying. The USAC Silver Crown non-qualifers race is slated to run immediately following qualifying. The 25-lap USAC National Midget Series feature event will commence on January 30 at 12:00 p.m. PST with the 100-lap USAC Silver Crown Series feature following that afternoon.

For more information regarding the Copper World Classic or Phoenix International Raceway, log on to or

Lasoski to appear on 'Off Season With the Outlaws' Outdoor Channel program

Danny "The Dude" Lasoski will be profiled in a segment of The Outdoor Channel's 'Off Season With the Outlaws' scheduled to air this Wednesday, January 26. The program provides an inside look at the World of Outlaws Sprint Series' 'Mean 15' and their lives as they gear up for the 2005 racing season.

The Outdoor Channel visits the homes and race shops of the 'Mean 15,' and candid interviews reveal the drivers' thoughts about the 2004 season and their outlook for this year.The episode of 'Off Season With the Outlaws' featuring Lasoski will air January 26 at 8:00 p.m. EST on The Outdoor Channel. The program is scheduled to be shown again on Friday, January 28 at 1:00 a.m. EST and on Saturday, January 29 at 8:00 a.m. EST.

Lasoski and the No. 20 team will return to World of Outlaws Sprint Series competition on February 11 and 13 at the Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. For info regarding Lasoski, the World of Outlaws Sprint Series or The Outdoor Channel, log on to, or

Danny Lasoski is one of the 'Mean 15' World of Outlaws drivers that will be profiled in an episode of The Outdoor Channel's 'Off Season With the Outlaws' television show.


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About this article
Series NHRA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jeg Coughlin , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Bob Glidden , Danny Lasoski , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Allen Johnson , Eric Gordon , Josh Wise , Don Schumacher , Steve Francis