Gary Scelzi's stellar Reading run ends in semis, pads points lead READING, Pa. (Sept. 18., 2005) - Gary Scelzi looked like he was well on his way to his fourth win of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car season today at the NHRA ...
Gary Scelzi's stellar Reading run ends in semis, pads points lead
READING, Pa. (Sept. 18., 2005) - Gary Scelzi looked like he was well on his way to his fourth win of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car season today at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway until a clutch lever caused his demise in the semifinal round.
Despite that, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car goes home to Fresno, Calif., with a 26-point lead in the Funny Car championship over Robert Hight, whom he defeated in the quarterfinal.
Scelzi was unstoppable all weekend after dominating three of the four qualifying rounds and the first two rounds of eliminations today.
The No. 1 qualifier and event defending champion first disposed of Gary Densham with a 4.785/312.42, then Hight with a 4.818/319.98 before meeting up with eventual event winner Tony Pedregon in the semifinal round.
The race was over for Scelzi at the hit of the throttle, as the car went up in smoke, while Pedregon cruised to the finish line with a 4.907/314.97 winning lap to Scelzi's 11.963/73.76.
"It broke the clutch lever right off at the starting line, which caused it to smoke the tires," said Scelzi, who is seeking his first Funny Car crown to go with his three Top Fuel championships. "It's unfortunate. The levers were new at Indy (U.S. Nationals on Labor Day). That's something that doesn't normally happen.
"Goofy things happen, but we're going to leave here with a bigger points lead than we came with. That's the main goal. We're in the hunt. We're playing hardball and we're making some moves.
"We're focused, we're ready, we're going to go over everything again and just hope that bad luck doesn't bite us like it did today.
"We're all right. We'll be fine. We'll just tighten that belt another notch and go to Dallas."
Next on NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' schedule is the O'Reilly NHRA Nationals, Sept. 23-25, 2005.