NHRA Season Opener Postponed To Next Weekend Due To Rain; Scelzi No. 16 POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2004) - With just one full pro qualifying round of four completed in three days of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season-opening K&N ...
NHRA Season Opener Postponed To Next Weekend Due To Rain; Scelzi No. 16
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2004) - With just one full pro qualifying round of four completed in three days of the 2004 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season-opening K&N Filters Winternationals because of rain, and the forecast of continuing rain on Sunday, NHRA pulled the plug on this weekend's event and rescheduled it for next weekend.
This event will restart next Friday, Feb. 27, with one qualifying round that day, two on Saturday, and final eliminations scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 29.
Gary Scelzi, driver of the HEMI Oakley Dodge Stratus, squeaked into the No. 16 position (7.624/107.39) in that one qualifying run. "We actually didn't have enough clutch on it and we were too soft, trying to be a little too conservative to get down the race track," said Scelzi, who finished sixth in last year's Funny Car standings, "and the race track was better than we thought it was going to be. We didn't want to go out there and smoke the tires and we ended up shaking by not having enough clutch on it. It was just one of those things. It's hard to make one shot to get in. It's always an educated guess on the first shot, and we missed it. I pedaled it, I tried everything I could do to get the car deep in the field and we ended up 16th. It's all for naught, though, because we're going to do it all over next week."
But with an all-new car and following pre-season testing, having even one pass to collect data for the first race of the year was productive. "It gave us a good idea of how the race track is going to be," said Scelzi, who holds the NHRA Funny Car national top-speed record of 329.18 mph. "NHRA has done a great job of preparing the race track, unlike where we have been testing, except for Vegas. We feel good about it. I'm glad they called it because I'd like to have at least a couple of more shots at it. We'll see if the HEMI Oakley Dodge will run 330 mph, because that's what we've been working on over the winter. It would be nice to hopefully have another dry weekend to get some racing in."