SCELZI SNAPS QUALIFYING STREAK AT 30, FAILS TO QUALIFY IN NORWALK NORWALK, Ohio (June 30, 2007) - Gary Scelzi, the popular driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, known as "Wild Thing" in his native Fresno, Calif., and among his...
SCELZI SNAPS QUALIFYING STREAK AT 30, FAILS TO QUALIFY IN NORWALK
NORWALK, Ohio (June 30, 2007) - Gary Scelzi, the popular driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, known as "Wild Thing" in his native Fresno, Calif., and among his fans, failed to qualify for the Inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals today, snapping the longest active qualifying streak at 30.
Winner of two national events - both from pole position - this season and third in the Funny Car points rankings, Scelzi surprised the fans and his racing colleagues when he smoked the tires during the cooler, more-desirable Friday night session, posting a 12.406/78.52. His other passes under hotter day-time conditions produced a 4.891/313.80 (good for No. 5 at the time), a 4.937/312.50 and finally a tire-smoking 10.611/77.45, none of which held up for him to make the field.
Scelzi joins an elite club of other championship-caliber and winning drivers who have not qualified this year at one time or another: Mike Ashley, Jack Beckman, Kenny Bernstein, Ron Capps, John Force, Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson Jr., Cruz Pedregon, Tony Pedregon and Del Worsham, among others.
"You just can't get this tight of a field and have that one shot Friday night. I'm not making excuses. It's just that we broke a clutch lever in the Friday night run and that cost us.
"It went 4.93 in the first run today, which was the fifth quickest run of that session.
"In this last try, we had to go 4.85 or .86 to get in and it just didn't happen. ESPN's Gary Gerould asked me, 'how can you put this into perspective of how bad this field is?' You know, it is what it is, but after Friday when we had all those kids here from Team Braveheart who have heart problems, it's pretty easy to deal with not qualifying right now.
"Life's not bad. I'm still Ok, the team's still OK, I still love (crew chief) Mike Neff, and I'm sure Mopar and Oakley are going to understand what happened. It happens every damned week.
"We'll go to Bristol and try to not let those things happen, get qualified and go win us another race.
"This track is a good track. It's a little bumpy, but, you know what, a lot of people here spent a lot of money. It's been a few years since I've been here for a match race and I think it's going to be a hit. I think it's way better than Columbus was and it's going to be a great venue for NHRA."