Scelzi No. 4 in Winternationals final qualifying POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2004) - By the time the fifth pair came up to the starting line for the final qualifying session, Gary Scelzi was on the bubble in 16th place, following a tire-smoking...
Scelzi No. 4 in Winternationals final qualifying
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 28, 2004) - By the time the fifth pair came up to the starting line for the final qualifying session, Gary Scelzi was on the bubble in 16th place, following a tire-smoking third pass this afternoon (7.306/115.07). It was nail-biting time as this would be his last attempt to get into the K&N Filters Winternationals Funny Car field.
Scelzi and his HEMI Oakley Dodge Stratus easily demonstrated they were back to form, as Scelzi powered down the quarter mile in 4.814 seconds at 323.74 mph, placing him into the No. 4 spot at the end of the session.
"We tested really well," said the fastest Funny Car pilot on the planet (329.18 mph national speed record), "but in Phoenix testing we made a change to the clutch that we thought was going to be better and give us a bigger window than we already had. We did everything that we possibly could. We got down the race track in Phoenix, but when we got here it just wasn't going to work.
"So, almost in desperation we went ahead and went back to what we had run before that we have some data on and we have an idea of what we needed to do and it went out and smoked the tires in the first run because it just had a little too much motor. So we took a little motor away and we figured it would run an .81 in the final session and that's exactly what it did."
Sunday is another day, with final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. The first round will see Scelzi facing Terry Haddock. "We have some room to play. We can run 4.75, .74 if we need to," Scelzi added. "But we need to go back out there and we need to run a .79 to an .80, somewhere in there in the first round and we'll go from there. We'll race the race track. And if we think we need to run a .75 we think that we can do that."
Today's two qualifying rounds on top of one yesterday and one last week was beneficial to Scelzi and his team. "With these one-day qualifying sessions in one week, it's pretty good to get two back-to-back," he said. "The weather's not changing that much, the race track is the same. There's not a lot of variables. It narrows that window down. So, I think we're pretty good right now. I'm pretty proud of Mike (Neff, crew chief) and all the guys with the Oakley Dodge. It's a HEMI!"