Scelzi sets track record, qualifies No. 4 in Pomona finale POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2003) - Trying the new parts the Oakley Dodge team had been waiting for and the combination that crew chief Mike Neff and the team came up with while testing in...
Scelzi sets track record, qualifies No. 4 in Pomona finale
POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 8, 2003) - Trying the new parts the Oakley Dodge team had been waiting for and the combination that crew chief Mike Neff and the team came up with while testing in Las Vegas last week, Gary Scelzi established his sixth track record of the season (for the time being) with his Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car - a 328.38-mph pass (4.846 E.T.) in today's third qualifying round. He backed that up with a 327.27-mph run in the final qualifying session, while posting a 4.769-second lap, placing him fourth in the field.
Before today's two runs, Scelzi was not in the field after smoking the tires in the first two qualifying sessions of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA finals.
"Good things are worth waiting for," said the Fresno, Calif., native who holds the Funny Car national top-speed record of 329.18 mph. "I was a little bit down because I know what we've got a hold of and I didn't want to go back to our old combination (in today's rounds) just because of the two runs in which we had problems. Neither did Mike Neff. And (team owner) Don Schumacher allowed us to take the chance of not qualifying and not going backwards. He said if you guys believe in it, I believe in it. You guys go for it. If it takes one run or two more runs, and I understand what could happen, go for it.
"So when we got his blessing - and we know we're not going to get fired - we went for it. Instant results, just like we knew was possible. It's running so well and so smooth. It's something that we haven't had. So we're going to refine it. We're going to try to go some rounds tomorrow, hopefully win the race, and put this Oakley Dodge in the winner's circle.
"No matter what, we've got an advantage on next year," he added. "Because we've actually been able to try this combination under race conditions. That's pretty incredible, to qualify No. 4, with a completely new combination with four runs basically on it if you count Vegas."
Scelzi will face Ron Capps in the first round tomorrow in final eliminations, the man he's aiming to pass for sixth in the 2003 POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings.