Pomona2: Gary Scelzi Friday summary

Scelzi moves into No. 13 at re-scheduled Winternationals POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2004) - Last week Gary Scelzi was on the bubble in No. 16 after one qualifying round before the rains came. Today he posted a 4.988/318.32 to place him No. 13 in...

Scelzi moves into No. 13 at re-scheduled Winternationals

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2004) - Last week Gary Scelzi was on the bubble in No. 16 after one qualifying round before the rains came. Today he posted a 4.988/318.32 to place him No. 13 in his HEMI Oakley Dodge Stratus on a partly cloudy day - a far cry from last week's rains. He experienced tire shake in that pass, but Scelzi and the team were not discouraged.

"I only pedaled it once," he said in response to reports he had pedaled it a few times to get it to the finish. "The track is extremely good. The NHRA has really done another outstanding job. This is a fast place. I feel that a Funny Car should be able to run mid low to mid-.70's here.

"We made some changes (after last week's poor run) and it went further before it shook and obviously we were closer because when I did pedal it it recovered. This HEMI Oakley Stratus is making big power, obviously. It threw the belt off at 1000 feet and ran 318 mph. That shows that we've got big power; we just have to catch it right early. Mike (Neff, crew chief) is going to make some adjustments and we'll go out and we'll hit her again tomorrow and see if we can stop this shake.

"If we can stop this shake and get the 60-ft. times back in the .880 zone there's no question in my mind that this thing is going to run high 320s in speed and it should run mid-4.70s in E.T., just like we think it should."

Having two back-to-back qualifying runs tomorrow is an advantage says Scelzi, who holds the national Funny Car speed record of 329.18 mph. "I don't think the track is going to change that much from the first to the second run and I don't think the air is going to change that much, so the tune-up will be pretty similar. Whatever changes we make for tomorrow, if that works out, we'll have one to play with on the last session and then we'll be ready for eliminations.

"But we still want to see how fast this car will run, so we're not going to be shy. This is a race track where you'd better not want to be shy or it will slap you.

"It feels great to be back racing. I'm just so thankful. The clouds got dark there an hour before we were going to run and I thought, No don't even think about that. The forecast is clear for the weekend so I'm sure pretty sure we'll get this one in. I'm ready to get started. Let's get busy."

-dsr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Gary Scelzi