Scelzi No. 4 in Friday Seattle qualifying KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2004) - In extremely hot conditions in both qualifying sessions today for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Gary Scelzi qualified the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus No. 4,...
Scelzi No. 4 in Friday Seattle qualifying
KENT, Wash. (July 23, 2004) - In extremely hot conditions in both qualifying sessions today for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Gary Scelzi qualified the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus No. 4, producing the first 4-second run (4.990 seconds) and the fastest pass of the day of 308.85 mph at Pacific Raceways under the new 85 percent nitromethane rule.
Despite the slower passes in the first round of qualifying, when Scelzi posted a 5.413/267.43 for No. 15, it appeared that Scelzi and his HEMI Oakley team were able to get a handle on the rules changes this weekend, which included the lower percentage of nitromethane, a new Goodyear tire, newly-mandated tire pressures, as well as a resurfaced race track and temperatures in the mid-90s.
"It sure looks like it works," he said after the final pass this evening. "We went in there really weak on the first run, but it made it down the race track so I wasn't that depressed. Again, like I've said in the past, it needs to go down the race track, even if it's not a good run, so you have something to look at. If it smokes the tires, you've got nothing to look at.
"So we came back and made some changes to the engine. Lee (Beard, teammate Whit Bazemore's crew chief) and Zippy (Scelzi's crew chief Mike Neff) and Dan (Olson, co-crew chief) looked at everything. We made a change. Bazemore stepped up (5.048/296.24), we stepped up. I'm pretty pleased to be in the top half of the field.
"The track surface is smooth. The sun is still a problem (shining directly in the drivers' eyes during sunset), but the sun is a lot easier to deal with than rain. But, no, everything was great. They did a really good job on the race track. It's fine."
Two more qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday.