SCELZI HOLDS ON AS LOW QUALIFIER IN POMONA POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2005) - Gary Scelzi collected his sixth No. 1 Funny Car qualifying position of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today, the 42nd of his career and earned eight points in...
SCELZI HOLDS ON AS LOW QUALIFIER IN POMONA
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2005) - Gary Scelzi collected his sixth No. 1 Funny Car qualifying position of the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series today, the 42nd of his career and earned eight points in the tightest Funny Car championship race in NHRA history.
His opponents for the crown, teammate Ron Capps and John Force, qualified 10th and sixth, respectively. Scelzi now holds an eight-point lead over Capps and is 32 points ahead of Force.
In the final qualifying session today, Scelzi posted a 4.703-second elapsed time at 330.23 mph, which did not break the national record of 4.665 seconds. His 4.696/330.23, established yesterday, stood for No. 1.
Here's how the first round will shape up: Scelzi faces Tim Wilkerson, Capps goes head to head with Del Worsham, and Force will face Scelzi's other teammate, Whit Bazemore.
Force and Capps are on the same side of the ladder, while Scelzi stands alone on his side of the ladder, as far as the championship contenders are concerned.
"I was really kind of hoping that was going to happen," he said of the Force-Bazemore match-up, "and if I was fortunate enough to win first round, let's decide it then and get it over with.
"It's going to be a tough draw [for Baze]. They've been struggling. I'm sure Mike (Neff, Scelzi's crew chief) will talk to (Bazemore's crew chiefs Dan) Olson and (Todd) Okuhara and see if he can help them in anyway.
"Right now we have to worry about us. I can't worry about what Bazemore is going to do or what Capps is going to do. If we win this race, we'll be the champions and that's what we're going to try to do, just like we went into Vegas and tried to do, and we came up a little bit short, and hopefully tomorrow we won't come up short."
As for the final qualifying session, where he missed the national record: "We stood on it," he said. "We went after it and it spun the tire a little bit and that's why it didn't run quicker than a .69, but it did run a 330. So, again, the rev limiter came into play and that .66 is going to be tough to beat, even if you get to Chicago or Vegas or some of these other places with [good] conditions because it just slows the cars down big time down there.
"We got Wilkerson [first round]. That's the only thing I do know for sure. Wilk struggled this year, but that's a car that has beat big dogs before and he can do it. He's no different than anybody else. We're not going to take him lightly. We're going to stand on it the first round.
"It's do or die now.
"I'm going to go up there and race Tim just like I raced everybody in qualifying. Do my best and if the car runs well and we all do our jobs, don't have any stupid breakage, hopefully we'll get some win lights."