Reading: Gary Scelzi preview

SCELZI SAYS READING WON'T BE FOR THE WEAK OF HEART MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 27, 2006) - While one or more of his Don Schumacher Racing teammates are concerned about the cooler, even cold, weather conditions expected at this weekend's re-scheduled...

SCELZI SAYS READING WON'T BE FOR THE WEAK OF HEART

MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 27, 2006) - While one or more of his Don Schumacher Racing teammates are concerned about the cooler, even cold, weather conditions expected at this weekend's re-scheduled Toyo Tire NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, reigning Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi says bring it on.

Despite reports that temperatures will dip into the high 50s this weekend in the Reading, Pa., area, the driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car, who has established 23 top speeds since joining DSR in 2003, is ready for the challenge, as he aims to gain as many points towards moving up in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car standings.

"It's going to be very different from two weeks ago," says Scelzi, who is seventh in the rankings, and just 50 points short of fifth place, with four events remaining in the season. "The race track is going to take anything you can throw at it," he says of the cooler conditions that should enhance the performance of the 7000-plus-horsepower nitromethane-powered engines. "You'd better bring some horsepower. It's not going to be for the weak of heart, that's for sure.

"And that's always a good feeling for us, because I think we probably have more 330-mph runs than anybody, so we know we can make power."

Scelzi's record at Maple Grove is stout: three wins (two in Top Fuel, one in Funny Car), one TF runner-up and three No. 1 qualifiers (1998, '99 and '05).

GARY SCELZI QUICK FACTS:

* Seventh in 2006 Funny Car points after 19 events, 50 points out of the top five, 206 points behind third place, 299 short of leader and teammate Ron Capps

* So far, in 2006, his best results are a win in Denver, runner-up in Englishtown, N.J., runner-up in Brainerd, Minn., and three semifinal finishes in Bristol, Tenn., Joliet, Ill., and St. Louis. Also has six quarterfinal finishes

* Claimed the 2005 Funny Car championship, his first, by eight points over his teammate Ron Capps, 32 over third-place John Force

* Won three times in 2005 (Bristol, Chicago 1 and Sonoma); was low qualifier six times (Las Vegas 1, Atlanta, St. Louis, Reading, Las Vegas 2, Pomona 2)

* Is a three-time Top Fuel champion

* Became only the second NHRA driver to have won crowns in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. Kenny Bernstein is the first

* Has three wins at Maple Grove (two in TF, one in FC) and three No. 1 qualifiers ('98, '99 in TF, '05 in FC)

* At 2005 Toyo Tires Nationals, he qualified No. 1, lost semis to Tony Pedregon

* Has set 23 Funny Car top speeds since joining Don Schumacher Racing in 2003

* Is a member of the largest team in NHRA pro history: Don Schumacher Racing - two in Top Fuel, three in Funny Car, one in Pro Stock, two in Pro Stock Motorcycle (all four pro categories) - and one individual team competing under the DSR banner: Mike Ashley's Funny Car team, managed by DSR

* Is first Funny Car driver to break the 330-mph barrier (330.15 mph at Route 66 Raceway in 2004)

* Career Funny Car bests: 4.696-second ET (Pomona 2 '05), 332.51 mph (Pomona 1 '06)

* Qualified in top five 19 times in 2005, No. 1 six times

* Age 46 (Aug. 11, 1960), born and raised in Fresno, Calif., where he lives with wife Julianne and sons Dominic and Giovanni

* Dominic, 9, races Junior Sprints

* Runs Scelzi Enterprises, a custom truck body design and manufacturing business in Fresno with his two brothers

* Won his first Top Fuel crown as a rookie

* Has eight Funny Car wins, 25 Top Fuel wins

* Sixth in 2003 Funny Car points, his first full season in that class

* 2006 is his fourth straight season racing for Don Schumacher Racing

* Is the only NHRA driver to have won in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car. He accomplished this feat at Infineon Raceway in 2003

* Is one of the few Funny Car drivers who has a round winning record against

-credit: dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kenny Bernstein , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Mike Ashley , Don Schumacher