NHRA STARS TO COMPETE IN GARY SCELZI & FRIENDS ALL-STAR CHALLENGE SATURDAY NIGHT FRESNO, Calif. (June 13, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi and driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don...
NHRA STARS TO COMPETE IN GARY SCELZI & FRIENDS ALL-STAR CHALLENGE SATURDAY NIGHT
FRESNO, Calif. (June 13, 2007) - Four-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series champion Gary Scelzi and driver of the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing is all heart when it comes to helping out a local race track in Visalia, Calif., near his Fresno, Calif., home.
He has put together the Gary Scelzi & Friends All-Star Challenge this Saturday, June 16, at Plaza Park Raceway in Visalia, Calif., to raise money for the raceway and has invited NHRA drivers J.R. Todd, Del Worsham, Morgan Lucas, teammate Ron Capps, and Cory McClenathan to join him in 600cc Mini-Sprints on the one-fifth-mile clay oval where his 10-year-old son Dominic competes regularly in a Restricted 600cc Mini-Sprint.
Fourteen-time Funny Car champion John Force will be honorary flagman and Brandon Bernstein will also be on hand.
A special donation, estimated to be a minimum of $5000, will also be made to D.R.A.W., the Drag Racing Association of Women, which has been providing financial and emotional support to injured drag racers since 1985.
"A lot of these race tracks get run down," said Scelzi, a native Fresnan. "They don't make any money and pretty soon the race track is gone and then the kids have nowhere to go race. So, before that happens, I want to try to clean this place up a little bit, make the rest rooms a little nicer, improve the grandstands, raise a little money for the race track to keep the thing going, and bring some names in here so people will put some value to this place. And hopefully this race track and others will stay put and provide a place for kids to race safely.
"Getting a new race track built is almost impossible nowadays," Scelzi continued, "so it's important to preserve what already exists, and it's a great race track. There's nothing better for the kids who keep their grades up than to go out and race a car. That's the kind of motivation a kid needs to not get into trouble. Dominic races on this track and my other son Giovanni, who is 5, will pretty soon be racing on the same track. Look at all the great race car drivers, the NASCAR guys. Most of the good ones got their start on race tracks like this."
The drivers will compete in a qualifying round and heat races that will set up the starting order for the 20-lap Main. "This is no exhibition, this is a full-blown race," said Capps.
Capps, who drives the Brut "Test Drive" Dodge for Don Schumacher Racing in NHRA, says his only goal is to finish. "This is going to be fun racing against these guys, because they can drive anything."
So, what's the prize for the winner? "The prize is going to be the pride of your drag-racing ego rolling into our next NHRA race in Englishtown (N.J.) next weekend saying that you won the first annual Gary Scelzi & Friends All-Star Challenge," said Capps.
"I tell you what, there's a lot of guys who are going to want to be in the second annual race, I can guarantee that."
Dominic Scelzi will also be racing that night in his Mini-Sprint in a separate event. According to Scelzi, Austin Prock, John Force Racing crew chief Jimmy Prock's 12-year-old son, is also making his debut on the West Coast in a Junior Sprint on Friday night.
For more details, schedule and ticket information, go to www.plazaparkraceway.com/ .