POMONA SEASON FINALE WILL BE AN EMOTIONAL EVENT FOR SCELZI FRESNO, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2008) - This weekend's NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.) will also be Gary Scelzi's last national event as a competitor in the NHRA...
POMONA SEASON FINALE WILL BE AN EMOTIONAL EVENT FOR SCELZI
FRESNO, Calif. (Nov. 11, 2008) - This weekend's NHRA Finals at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.) will also be Gary Scelzi's last national event as a competitor in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series...at least for now. Scelzi, who entered his first pro race in 1997 and has driven the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing since 2003, will be stepping down to tend to the family business and his family following this race. But he won't say he is retiring from the sport in which he's captured four world championships and 37 national-event wins in 58 final rounds as one of the most popular racers on the circuit.
"Well, this is it for a while," said Scelzi, who still hopes to win his first event of the season this weekend, "unless something really crazy happens over the winter. I'm going to one of my favorite race tracks. It's where I won my first national event back in 1985 in Alcohol Dragster, won my first Top Fuel race here at the Winternationals in 1997 (and both events in 2000), and won a Funny Car race here (2007 Winternationals).
"It's got a lot of meaning, a lot of history, and it's going to be an emotional race for me. A lot of friends and family will be there, and a lot of the fans who have followed my career since the '80s. I have no idea what it's going to be like, but I have a feeling when it's all said and done it's going to be a little bit overwhelming because that's when it's probably going to hit me, that I'm not coming back...at least for who knows how long. It could be forever. I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see what the cards hold for Gary Scelzi."
Emotions aside, he's ready to get back to racing following his first-round loss at the last event in Las Vegas despite having a strong-performing car under him. "I'm excited about going to Pomona," said Scelzi, whose team has struggled this year. "I'm still stinging a little bit about Vegas, but (crew chief) Richard Hogan came in late in the season and changed a lot of things and made the Mopar Dodge better. He's done a great job. It's just that we've thrown a lot on him at once and we're just not there yet.
"So, we'll see what we can do in Pomona, see if I can drive to the best of my ability and Hogan can tune to the best of his ability, and if the cards fall our way maybe we can end up in victory lane Sunday night. And that's why I'm going there."