GARY SCELZI, OAKLEY TIME BOMB DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, in his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series eliminations as a member of Don Schumacher Racing, lost to Ron Capps in the first round on a holeshot. Scelzi's reaction time may have been...
GARY SCELZI, OAKLEY TIME BOMB DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, in his first NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series eliminations as a member of Don Schumacher Racing, lost to Ron Capps in the first round on a holeshot. Scelzi's reaction time may have been one of his worst, at a .100, but his 60-foot time was his best, at .900. He was three hundredths of a second ahead of Capps at the 60-foot mark and seven hundredths ahead at the one-eighth-mile, but was forced to pedal just short of the 1000-foot mark when he smoked the tires, losing to Capps with a 4.998/316.97 pass to Capps' 5.020/287.47.
SCELZI: "He deep-staged; he probably had two hundredths (of a second) on me, really, on the tree. But when you look at the 60-foot mark I had .90 flat, he had a .930. We picked up three hundredths right away. So it's kind of deceiving. Yeah, it was a holeshot, but it wasn't like I was eating a sandwich on the starting line. It's disappointing, it's disheartening, because we had such a good race car. But everybody's gotten beat, that's the good news. It smoked the tires and I pedaled it, it caught and it went back down the race track. It was good for me, I hadn't had to pedal it yet, so it was a good learning experience for me. We know the tune-up was really close. It was just a little bit aggressive; it was just one of those things. Everybody is still upbeat and that's the important part. This is just one race. We qualified very well, we were one of the most consistent cars in qualifying. Yeah, I'm down, I don't like to lose. I certainly don't like to lose like that. But it happened. We took one on the chin. We'll load up, we'll go to Phoenix and we'll be better. You're going to have these things. That's why they have 23 races."
SCOTTY CANNON, OAKLEY TIME BOMB FUNNY CAR, and his teammate WHIT BAZEMORE, MATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DODGE STRATUS R/T FUNNY CAR, had a close race in the first round, with Cannon taking off at the light seven hundredths of a second earlier than Bazemore. Bazemore had the edge the rest of the way, taking the win with a 4.802-second pass at 320.43 mph, to Cannon's 4.936/267.48.
CANNON: "It was running pretty good, but the bottom pulley come off of it. It would have been a lot closer than it was. We were pretty close about half-track. I think we're getting it ironed out as far as it blowing up and tearing up parts; that's a good thing. It hadn't blown up the last two runs. We're still a new team, we're still working on it, that's all I can say. We've not given up yet."
ON RACING AGAINST TEAMMATE BAZEMORE: "Naturally, I want to beat Whit, but I'd just as soon run someone else other than Whit than run Whit, because I like Whit; I think a lot of him. I'd rather run him in the final. We do have a little bit of a bond; we raced a whole year together and didn't kill each other. Whit's a cool guy, I highly respect him. I think he's probably one of my better friends out here. The good thing is we race clean, we both stage good; he just outran me, what can I say?"
WHIT BAZEMORE, MATCO TOOLS IRON EAGLE DODGE STRATUS R/T, made it to the second round after defeating his teammate Scotty Cannon. Facing Tommy Johnson Jr. in the quarterfinal, Bazemore launched first at the light with a .035 reaction time to Johnson's .076. At the hit of the throttle, however, his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge suffered a clutch problem and smoked the tires, slowing him to a 10.489-second pass at 86.68 mph to Johnson's winning 4.829/313.37.
BAZEMORE: "We had a specific clutch malfunction. A part broke in the clutch and caused our car to smoke the tires within 10 feet of the starting line. I blew the tires off right at the hit of the throttle, basically. Needless to say, it's kind of frustrating to be in this position after running so well yesterday and this morning. The good news is we have a great team. I stand by my confidence in my remarks that this team is way more competitive than we were last year. And we are. It's going to be tough out there. I feel confident that we have a team that can challenge John Force's team on the race track all the time. We're going to put this behind us and go to Phoenix and try to start getting some trophies this year."
ON RACING TEAMMATE SCOTTY CANNON IN FIRST ROUND: "It's interesting. Scotty and I, before he came here, had a lot of problems as competitors in 2001. They were pretty well documented. We weren't members of each other's fan club, that's for sure. He came here and Scotty is a great guy; he's got a lot of heart and quite different than his image projects him to be. When you look at a guy like Scotty Cannon -- kind of a big guy with a Mohawk, the latest Oakley sunglasses -- you think he's some really bad hombre. He's a great guy and we became friends last year. He's the first to admit it's surprising. He's a tremendous competitor. It's unfortunate; the way we qualified ended up meaning that we were going to have to race an Oakley teammate in the first round. Ideally, we want to do that in the semis or the final. They're a brand new team over there and they started from scratch and they've got a whole new combination and new personnel. So they're trying to establish a good combination that's different from these two cars (Bazemore's and Scelzi's). I think when they do that they're going to be awfully strong. Their car started to make some good gains this weekend after they struggled in testing. They came here and they ran competitively. And they're only going to get better. As the year progresses I think we're going to see a lot of competition, not only with the one Oakley car with Mike Neff tuning and Gary (Scelzi) driving. Scotty's car is going to be very strong as well. It's going to be exciting for the team when all three of us are really competitive, and hopefully all three of us can end up racing each other in lots of finals."