Phoenix: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE HEADING TO PHOENIX FRESNO, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion Gary Scelzi is brimming with confidence heading into the second round of 24 events in the 2008 NHRA ...

SCELZI BRIMMING WITH CONFIDENCE HEADING TO PHOENIX

FRESNO, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2008) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world champion Gary Scelzi is brimming with confidence heading into the second round of 24 events in the 2008 NHRA season, the NHRA Nationals at Firebird Raceway, just outside of Phoenix, this weekend.

The driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing is ready to settle into a long season battling for a second Funny Car crown, now that the opening event of the year in Pomona, Calif., is over.

"I'm really excited about going to Phoenix," said Scelzi, who landed in the quarterfinals in Pomona and is tied in fifth place in the standings with three other drivers. "I felt that we could have done damage in Pomona. It was unfortunate that we broke a Heim joint (in his second round against John Force) that is connected to the barrel valve. But it's one of those things; it's something that just never breaks. So, we'll write that off as one that got away.

"Firebird is a tough, tricky race track," added Scelzi, the 1997 winner there in the Top Fuel class. "The quickest-ever Funny Car elapsed time was set there last year (4.636 seconds by Robert Hight), and there was also a lot of tire smoke. I'm really confident in (crew chief) Todd Okuhara, in the way he and the other DSR crew chiefs work together. I'm confident in the car we're running, because it's the car we ran last year, so there's no curve balls being thrown at us there. We're in the top 10. We just need to go there and start making our move right now and begin marching our way into the Countdown."

As for getting past the first event of the year, "I don't know if winning a round makes a difference," said Scelzi, "but I know all the photography for hero cards, ESPN shooting their season HD footage, getting the new uniforms sorted out, and all all those things we go through at the first event, are a real pain in the butt to get through, so Pomona is always tough. And the fans are crazy because it's the first race of the year. That's a good thing, but I'm just glad it's all out of the way and now we can concentrate on winning and that's a big thing."

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers John Force , Gary Scelzi , Robert Hight