SCELZI GAINS GROUND ON FORCE IN SEATTLE, BUT HIGHT OUTDOES THEM BOTH KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, by virtue of qualifying No. 2 to John Force's No. 6, is now just 11 points behind 13-time champion Force, despite his first-round ...
SCELZI GAINS GROUND ON FORCE IN SEATTLE, BUT HIGHT OUTDOES THEM BOTH
KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) - Gary Scelzi, by virtue of qualifying No. 2 to John Force's No. 6, is now just 11 points behind 13-time champion Force, despite his first-round defeat today at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Force was also dispatched in the first round - for the third straight race. The last time that Force lost three consecutive first rounds was in 1989.
The spoiler in this hugely popular Scelzi vs. Force rivalry is Force's teammate Robert Hight, who reached the final round for the second straight race today. Hight had moved ahead of both Force and Scelzi when he won last week in Denver, and today he extended his lead to 84 points over his employer and 95 over Scelzi in third after his runner-up finish against his teammate Eric Medlen.
Steering the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, Scelzi faced his teammate Whit Bazemore in the opening round today. Scelzi launched first with a .046 reaction time, Bazemore with a .098. The race was over when Scelzi immediately smoked the tires and slowed to an 8.976-second pass at 94.62 mph, while Bazemore shot to the finish line with a winning 4.907/311.56.
"It smoked the tires," Scelzi simply stated. "I guess the track got bald and we didn't make enough of an adjustment to slow the car down on the bald spots. You can't keep making mistakes like that. The driver can't make mistakes, the crew chief can't make mistakes or we're going to be worrying about fifth place and not the championship."
"One thing about drag racing is when you think that you've got a handle on everything and you think you have a shot at it and your car runs well -- we made four great qualifying runs -- there's no reason this thing should have done that. Yet it did."
"No reason Force should be stumbling like he's been stumbling, and if we keep this up we're going to be crowning a new champion, and it ain't going to be Force and it ain't going to be Scelzi."
Scelzi hangs on to third place in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car point standings, and is now 50 points ahead of his teammate Ron Capps in fourth. He also held on to his track speed record here of 325.85 mph.
Next up is the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., July 29-31.